The winter storm in 1999 caused 13.8 Mio. m3 of windthrow in Swiss forests, which is almost triple that of average annual felling. The question was raised if insurance or a solidarity fund could contribute to an efficient recovery of such natural events. The object of our study was to investigate the forest owner’s demand for forest insurance or a fund and to explore the general feasibility of such risk transfer. On the basis of a theoretical framework derived from the literature about risk management and insurance we conducted two surveys: a) a representative standardised questionnaire survey of a random sample of forest owners; b) interviews with experts from forestry, insurance industry and forest administration. The results show that the forest owners demand for risk transfer is rather small: 9% of the private and 15% of the public forest owners are interested in forest insurance, while 22% of the private and 19% of the public forest owners show demand for a fund. The experts confirm that under present political and legal conditions forest insurance or a solidarity fund are not promising approaches. We conclude that an accordant revision of the Swiss forest legislation and a change in recovery policy are preconditions to transfer windthrow risk by insurance or a fund. Nevertheless, such a solution could have advantages such as a spread of risk and a reduction of unexpected private and public budget debits.