The Swiss people are the most heavily insured in the world, although this reflects social insurance such as health insurance as well as more commercial types of business. Nevertheless, Swiss insurers now rely on foreign business for two-thirds of their premium income. The insurance sector has been steadily deregulated during the 1990s. One of the last set of controls was scrapped in 1996 when the fixed tariff regime for third-party vehicle insurance was abolished. As of 1999, Swiss insurance companies numbered over 100.
Switzerland controls an estimated one-third of the world's reinsurance, and insurance income represents a major item in the Swiss balance of payments. Insurance investments are represented heavily in the Swiss capital market, and Swiss insurance firms have invested widely in foreign real estate. About half the domestic insurance business is in the hands of the state. The Swiss Reinsurance Co. in Zürich is the largest of its kind in the world. As of 1999, about 10% of all Swiss insurance companies dealt solely with reinsurance. There are several types of compulsory insurance in Switzerland, including workers' compensation, third-party automobile liability, fire, pension, hunters', aircraft, nuclear power station, old age, unemployment, and disability insurance. In 1999, the total income of the Swiss domestic insurance market was 48 million, making it the twelth largest insurance market globaly.