The chronicle of TSM, established in the watchmaker's city on September 21, 1921, the date of the creation of the company. Conditions offered then by insurers were much too general. These conditions were not sufficiently adapted to those particular products and to the watchmaker's markets whose exports exploded literally after the first world war. In 1921, the Syndicat Patronal des Producteurs de la Montre (SPPM) in La Chaux-de-Fonds created its own "Marine Insurance" department which offered its members, against payment of a competitive premium, conditions of insurance based on an "all risks" cover. So, September 21, 1921, 17 local watchmakers founded the cooperative "TRANSPORTS" Société Mutuelle. At that day, the insurance cover, named today "all-risks", was born.
This new company was only opened to members of the Syndicat Patronal des Producteurs de la Montre in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Besides paying the premium, every member was committed to subscribe a share of CHF 500.-- face value for every fraction of CHF 100'000.- of insured products, of which 50%, equal to CHF 250.--, had to be paid in cash. The own capital at the time of the foundation amounted to CHF 17'500.--; 10% of the risk remained with TSM, whereas the remaining 90% were given in reinsurance to Lloyd's in London.
In 1934, due to modifications of its statutes, TSM finally spread its activities, but to the canton of Neuchâtel only. The clause of the insured's domicile was so strict, that if a policy holder transferred the head office of his enterprise outside of the canton, the latter lost his membership automatically and was obliged to look for another marine insurer. In the thirties, the nominal value of the shares were reduced to CHF 25.-- each share and the obligation of part subscription, in proportion to the value of the insured products was abolished. It is only in 1950 that the company obtained the concession permitting to perpetrate the marine insurance on the whole Swiss territory.
"Transports Société Mutuelle" into "TSM Société Mutuelle d'Assurances Transports", but above all because, since this moment, it became possible to conclude insurance contracts with non-members societies, in other words, with non-watchmakers clients. All subscribed shares were bought back by the company and the personal responsibility of shareholders was abolished.
TSM is a cooperative society. Its highest body is the Annual General Meeting of its members. Every member has one vote. The moment a client has concluded an insurance contract directly, that means not trough an insurance broker, with the TSM, the client becomes automatically a member.
TSM does not show any capital. Its fortune consisted of ordinary and extraordinary reserves.
It is an independent company specialized in marine insurance of goods worldwide.
Zone of activity and organization
TSM is not an "all class" insurer. Since more than 90 years now, it specialized in the field of marine insurance. Its various customers are mainly commercial and industrial societies with national and international activities. They are domiciled for 50% in the German-speaking area, for 45% in the French-speaking area and for 5% in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. During the last decades, TSM orientated its growth in diversifying its marine business in order not to be dependant upon the economic situation of only one industrial area. Nevertheless, the insurance contracts of watches still represents an important part, around 30%, of the cashed premiums.
During the last financial year, TSM granted insurance cover for goods travelling around the world for a value of approx. CHF 3,0 billions, corresponding to CHF 14 millions of cashed premiums.
TSM only insures industrial and commercial firms. TSM has sub-offices in Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich.