Digitally signing of PDF/A documents via HSM at Swiss Mobiliar Insurance

Company size5,000 - 10,000
Used ProductsPDF Security

Insurance requests (around 2.5 million pages per year) should in the future be converted to digitally-signed PDF/A conforming documents before they are archived. The scanned documents should be signed and stamped with an official timestamp.

Aldo Cavegn
Project Leader, Swiss Mobiliar
The complete system has been in production for several months. The signature interface has proven to be stable and reliable. The expectations were fulfilled and the uncomplicated support from PDF Tools AG deserves special mention.
Swen Wyssbrod
Executive Partner, Insurance Leader Switzerland, IBM Switzerland
The decision to use PDF Security was based on the functional range of the product, the ability to integrate it into the Mobiliar’s applications and IT infrastructure, and additionally the extremely promising functional and performance tests. The Java interface that encapsulates the signature function and is responsible for communicating with HSM and the timestamp service is worthy of special mention. Through it, the required signature functionality can be achieved in the application with minimal footprint. The interoperability under Linux could be ensured together with support from PDF Tools AG.

Application requirements

Insurance requests are signed by Mobiliar customers and returned to the insurer by post. Legal guidelines (accounting records by-law GeBüV and the by-law concerning electronically transferred documents and information – EIDI-V) as well as internal directives dealing with compliance place additional requirements on the archiving of these documents. Insurance requests (around 2.5 million pages per year) should in the future be converted to digitally-signed PDF/A conforming documents before they are archived.

This process includes having the documents scanned and signed with a functional certificate in accordance with the Swiss Digital Signature Act and stamped with an official timestamp. The existing LunaSA HSM had to be incorporated into the solution. In addition, a high throughput rate had to be considered, since the performance for large volumes of documents is of crucial importance. A verification of the signature and the timestamp should occur after the documents are archived.

Customer benefits

The solution is used for digitally archiving insurance requests that have been hand-signed by customers. The digitally archived insurance requests are later available to authorized persons at all times and from all locations through a query system, enabling them to view the documents as PDF files or print them out. The stable and reliable signature solution can be used long-term and provides considerable time and the related cost savings through its automation. An excellent cost-performance ratio also needs to be emphasized.


The 3-Heights® PDF Security is integrated via its Java interface. Digital signing occurs under Windows, making use of the current LunaSA HSM. The documents are signed by means of a functional certificate from QuoVadis and are stamped with an official timestamp. This occurs via a secure, automated PIN transfer. Signatures and timestamps are then verified under Linux using a PKCS#11 interface and Keystore software. 

The desired high throughput could be achieved due to the fast signature software and parallel processing. The tight schedule for implementation was an additional challenge that could be adhered to thanks to a strong engagement from the PDF Tools AG support team.

Portrait of IBM Switzerland

IBM has been innovating and actively promoting the development of new technologies for 100 hundred years. Since 1927, IBM Switzerland has been a reliable services and innovation partner for companies throughout Switzerland, ensuring that hardware, software and services are combined to form optimal customer solutions. Throughout the world, a committed team of over 400,000 employees from the most diverse of cultures works together to help our customers achieve success. We are tackling the challenges of our society pragmatically with the „Smarter Planet“ agenda, and are developing technologies and solutions that will make possible sustainable growth with limited resources.

Brief portrait of Die Mobiliar

Every third household in Switzerland is insured with Swiss Mobiliar. The insurer, who is active in all branches, has a yearly premium volume of 3 billion Swiss Francs. Over 80 general agencies guarantee proximity to the 1.5 million customers. The Mobiliar has more than 5000 employees and trains 300 apprentices yearly. It is the oldest private insurance corporation in the country and has remained a registered cooperative since its founding in 1826.

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