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Have you also taken out a life or pen­sion in­sur­ance in the past and now you re­gret your de­cision? The Fed­eral Su­preme Court strengthens the right of policyholders!

Those who took out life or pen­sion in­sur­ance made a bind­ing de­cision for the next ten, twenty or thirty years. Con­sid­er­ing the paltry re­turns of these in­sur­ances, which are shown in the an­nual value in­form­a­tion, a num­ber of poli­cy­hold­ers have already re­gret­ted this de­cision after a short amount of time.

On the one hand, this is due to the high ac­quis­i­tion costs that weigh on the con­tracts and on the other hand due to the fact that in­surers did not in­vest their cus­tom­ers’ money as prom­ised. Those who are un­sat­is­fied with the re­turn value and want to ter­min­ate their con­tracts now would be ill-​advised. Even after 19 years of the con­tract, the guar­an­teed amount to be paid in the event of ter­min­a­tion (or the amount to be ex­emp­ted from a premium ex­emp­tion) is gen­er­ally less than the premi­ums paid up to that point. Who can guess that when you take out a life in­sur­ance policy, for ex­ample, a con­tri­bu­tion amount of 100,000 euros will pay between 4,000 and 7,000 euros com­mis­sion for the ser­vices of the agent? In ad­di­tion to the risk cov­er­age, these costs should be de­duc­ted from the fu­ture pay­ment of con­tri­bu­tions. Only then be­gins, for what the cus­tomer has ac­tu­ally com­pleted the en­dow­ment in­sur­ance – the pension.

Many of these con­tracts can still be re­versed by re­vok­ing the life in­sur­ance. (The tech­nic­ally cor­rect term is “con­tra­dic­tion”, but the ter­min­o­logy “re­voc­a­tion” has es­tab­lished it­self in com­mon parlance.)

At­tor­ney Al­ex­an­der Temiz, spe­cial­ized law­yer for bank­ing and cap­ital mar­ket law of the law firm Schirp and Part­ner on the pos­sib­il­ity of re­voc­a­tion in the SWR Marktcheck.

Which contracts are affected?

Ac­cord­ing to the case law of the European Court of Justice and the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tional Court, it can be as­sumed that about 100 mil­lion life and pen­sion in­sur­ance con­tracts con­cluded in between 12 July 1994 and 31 Decem­ber 2007 can be­ne­fit from the „eternal“ right of re­voc­a­tion and can still be re­voked today. These can be both unit-​linked and non-​fund-​linked insurances.

For the fol­low­ing life and pen­sion in­sur­ance policies, the can­cel­la­tion policy might be incorrect:

Aachen­MünchenerAl­li­anzAlte Leipzi­ger
BaslerBay­ern VersicherungBer­lin­is­che Leben / Athene
Canada LifeCiVCler­ical Med­ical / Scot. Widows
Cos­mos DirektDANVDBV Win­ter­thur
De­bekaDeutsche Ärztever­sicher­ungDEVK Eis­en­bahn
DEVKAllg. Lebens­ver­sicher­ungDia­lo­g­Die Bayerische
GothaerHan­nov­er­sche LebenHanse­Merkur
HDIHeidel­ber­ger LebenHel­ve­tia
HUKIdealIDUNA Ver­ein. LV
Karls­ruherLandesleben­shilfeLiberty Europe
LV 1871LVMMecklen­bur­gis­che
MGM In­ter­na­tional AssuranceMünchener Ver­einmyLife
Oeco Cap­italÖf­fent­liche BerlinÖf­fent­liche Braunschweig
Öf­fent­liche OldenburgÖf­fent­liche Sachsen-AnhaltPBV Lebens­ver­sicher­ung
Prisma LifeProv­in­zial NordWestProv­in­zial Rheinland
R+VR+V a.G.Rhein­land
Royal Lon­donSaar­landSALI
Skan­diaSparkassen-​Vers. SachsenStand­ard Life
Stut­tgarterSüd­deutscheSV Leben
Swiss LifeTARGOuni­Versa
VGH Ver­sicher­ungenVHV LebenVolks­für­sorge
Volks­wohl BundVPV LebenWGV
Württem­ber­gis­cheWWK Lebens­ver­sicher­ung a.G.Zurich Deutscher Herold

What action should be taken now?

Have the in­struc­tion of your life or pen­sion in­sur­ance policy be checked for er­rors. Many re­voc­a­tion in­struc­tions are in­cor­rect and do not meet the legal requirements. 

If you already have ter­min­ated your in­sur­ance pre­ma­turely or you have let it ex­pire and you are not sat­is­fied with the amount paid out, you should def­in­itely take action.

We verify, if the in­struc­tion given to you is in­cor­rect and if your in­sur­ance con­tract can still be re­versed by re­voc­a­tion today. Fur­ther­more, we in­form you about pos­sible claims against the in­surer due to the re­voc­a­tion. We also ad­vise you on tax mat­ters, since only by tak­ing all factors into ac­count we can en­tirely eval­u­ate whether the re­verse set­tle­ment of the con­tract makes good eco­nomic sense or not. Get con­vinced by our over­all ana­lysis, at no ex­pense for you.

Use our con­tact form on this page and send us your in­sur­ance doc­u­ments and we will re­view your in­di­vidual case for free.

We need your in­sur­ance cer­ti­fic­ate, if avail­able, the let­ter that has been sent to­gether with the cer­ti­fic­ate and the gen­eral con­sumer in­form­a­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, we re­quire the latest no­ti­fic­a­tion of status or if it has already been ter­min­ated by ex­pir­a­tion of time or no­tice, the set­tle­ment of the contract. 

Legal basis for the revocation of life insurance

By judg­ment of 19 Decem­ber 2013 (Case C-209/12), the European Court of Justice has fi­nally de­cided after 20 years, to settle a ques­tion of law that has not yet been cla­ri­fied and thereby strengthened the rights of many poli­cy­hold­ers com­plain­ing about the de­vel­op­ment of their life and pen­sion schemes. The core state­ment: In­sur­ances that were con­cluded ac­cord­ing to the so-​called policy model in the period from July 29, 1994, to Decem­ber 31, 2007 may un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances still be re­vok­able today, since the tem­por­ary right of re­voc­a­tion gran­ted at that time in Ger­man law un­der § 5 a para. 2 VVG old ver­sion vi­ol­ates EU law.

The judg­ment of the Fed­eral Court of Justice and the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tional Court – What does the cus­tomer get?

With ref­er­ence to the judg­ment of the European Court of Justice, the Fed­eral Court of Justice finds, that life and pen­sion in­sur­ances, as well as sup­ple­ment­ary in­sur­ances in ad­di­tion to the life in­sur­ances, may un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances still be re­vok­able today, if the poli­cy­holder was not prop­erly in­formed about the right of re­voc­a­tion upon re­ceipt of the in­sur­ance policy.

Fi­nally, the Fed­eral Su­preme Court also had to cla­rify what the poli­cy­holder was en­titled to after de­clar­ing the re­voc­a­tion. In their judg­ment of 7 May 2014, the Karls­ruhe judges cla­ri­fied that a “reas­on­able com­pens­a­tion and a fair dis­tri­bu­tion of risk” has to take place.

It was clear that the poli­cy­holder who de­clares the re­voc­a­tion can claim back all the premi­ums he has paid.

A “reas­on­able com­pens­a­tion”, how­ever, also means that the in­surer must also be en­titled to some­thing, since after all the cus­tomer could en­joy the in­sur­ance cover un­til the re­voc­a­tion was de­clared (eg death pro­tec­tion). The re­im­burse­ment claim of the cus­tomer must, there­fore, be de­duc­ted from the risk por­tion. Nev­er­the­less, it is usu­ally worth the re­voc­a­tion for the poli­cy­holder. Not only will he be re­im­bursed for his premi­ums paid, but he will also re­ceive in­terest on the premi­ums paid. The reason: The in­surer has ul­ti­mately earned some­thing with the premi­ums re­ceived. And he must give these earned profits to the cus­tomer. In many cases this is significant.

How­ever, the Fed­eral Su­preme Court has also de­cided that the poli­cy­holder must ex­plain and prove that the in­surer had earned these profits and how much he earned.
It is not enough to simply refer to the stat­utory de­fault in­terest rate of five per­cent­age points above the base rate.

Rather, it must spe­cific­ally be per­formed to­wards the com­pens­a­tion for use. 

In two fur­ther judg­ments of 29 July 2015, the Fed­eral Court of Justice fi­nally fur­ther strengthened the rights of con­sumers and de­cided that the poli­cy­holder would not have to re­im­burse the clos­ing and ad­min­is­trat­ive costs as well as an in­stall­ment sur­charge. Ul­ti­mately, the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tional Court con­firmed with two de­cisions of May 23, 2016, that the “eternal“ right of re­voc­a­tion was con­sti­tu­tion­ally unobjectionable.

Is there a time limitation?

Since with the de­cisions of the European Court of Justice and the Fed­eral Court of Justice so-​called ex­ist­ing con­tracts are af­fected, which were closed between 29 July 1994 and 31 Decem­ber 2007, the ques­tion arises if the as­ser­tion of the re­voc­a­tion of the life in­sur­ance is lim­ited in time. This ques­tion can be con­cisely be answered with no. The re­voc­a­tion is a right, which is not sub­ject to the stat­ute of lim­it­a­tions. The­or­et­ic­ally, it can be ex­er­cised even after 20 years for the af­fected contracts.

The law firm Schirp & Part­ner will be pleased to ad­vise you.

Be­ne­fits Cal­cu­lator » FAQ »

For all ques­tions con­cern­ing other in­sur­ances, prop­erty in­sur­ances (eg build­ings), ac­ci­dents, oc­cu­pa­tional dis­ab­il­ity, and other per­sonal in­sur­ances, li­ab­il­ity prob­lems (private and pro­fes­sional), etc. we re­com­mend our of­fice part­ner and co­oper­a­tion part­ner, law­yer and spe­cial­ist law­yer for in­sur­ance law Dr. Chris­tian Naun­dorf, whose con­tact de­tails can be found at www​.racn​.de

How to reach us

Schirp & Part­ner Recht­san­wälte mbB
Leipzi­ger Platz 9
10117 Ber­lin, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)30 – 327 617 0
Fax: +49 (0)30 – 327 617 17
E-​Mail: mail@​ssma.​de

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