Why SWIFT is Important for International Insurance Transactions

min read
Updated: 26 April 2024
Written by
Insuranceopedia Staff
On this page Open

Insurance companies have increasingly expanded internationally, covering businesses, cargo transportation, and more, necessitating international insurance for financial stability and risk protection. The SWIFT system has simplified payments, making the process straightforward.

However, understanding how the system operates is crucial for insurance companies to utilize it effectively in their operations. This article explores the fundamental connection between SWIFT and international financial transactions of insurance companies.

What is SWIFT and What is its Purpose?

With several thousand banks and insurance companies worldwide actively engaging with each other, a unified SWIFT system was developed to facilitate convenient interbank transactions, including cross-border ones. It standardized money transfers and information transfer processes, introducing common rules for all participants in the global financial market.

Many modern businesses utilize the money transfer SWIFT system, enabling businesses to conduct international financial transactions almost instantly, without additional expenses or worries. Transactions can be carried out between any foreign banks that support SWIFT standards.

Key Advantages

One of the primary advantages of SWIFT for insurance companies is its high-speed message transmission. The introduction of common standards has significantly increased the speed of interbank communications, with an urgent payment order being sent in approximately five minutes.

Many operations are automated, including automatic numbering and transmission of messages, and automatic data verification on the recipient’s side.

The main advantages of SWIFT include:

  • High-speed delivery of translations, with the average delivery time being approximately 15 minutes for a regular message and 2 minutes for an urgent message.
  • No restrictions on the amount of payment.
  • A wide selection of currencies that SWIFT operates.
  • Low tariffs, which are much lower than in other systems.
  • Wide distribution and popularity worldwide, allowing payments to be made to almost all countries.
  • Guarantees of timely delivery of the translation, with SWIFT covering any losses incurred by clients if delivery deadlines are violated due to the fault of the system.

SWIFT Security

SWIFT employs multi-level data protection against falsification, loss, and various risks, including physical access control in computer centers and concentrators, coding of communication lines, and internal security measures. All participants in message exchange bear responsibility determined by general agreements, simplifying the resolution of possible disputes.

Participation in SWIFT streamlines insurance companies’ processes by eliminating manual processing, improving control, and accelerating payment placements. However, this may require significant work reorganization.

Disadvantages of SWIFT

A disadvantage of SWIFT is the rather long payment processing time, approximately five banking days. Additionally, while the system itself has a relatively fixed commission, the main costs are incurred when receiving money from the bank and interbank transfer.

Moreover, the system’s cost can be increased by the presence of intermediary banks, which arise when the transfer currency differs from the national currency of the state to which the transfer is made.

Risks of Using SWIFT

Despite its benefits, using SWIFT may pose significant obstacles and hazards for insurance businesses, including potential payment processing delays or refusals, hefty SWIFT service costs, and the possibility of data transfer failures. To mitigate these risks, insurance firms must carefully plan and monitor their overseas financial operations, as well as establish extra safeguards and monitoring mechanisms.


The SWIFT system is crucial to insurance firms’ international financial operations, ensuring the security, reliability, and efficiency of financial information transmission and payment. Insurance firms must understand how SWIFT works and how it affects their operations, as well as regularly monitor changes in this area and seek new opportunities to improve their international financial processes.

Go back to top