Policyholders of a British insurer, such as Clerical Medical (now: Scottish Widows Ltd.), Standard Life, Scottish Mutual or Friends Provident keep asking the law firm SCHIRP & PARTNER.
CONTRADICTION AND REVOCATION OF LIFE INSURANCE AND PENSION INSURANCE POLICIES
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:
|Basler||Bayern Versicherung||Berlinische Leben / Athene|
|Canada Life||CiV||Clerical Medical / Scot. Widows|
|Cosmos Direkt||DANV||DBV Winterthur|
|Debeka||Deutsche Ärzteversicherung||DEVK Eisenbahn|
|DEVK||Allg. Lebensversicherung||DialogDie Bayerische|
|HUK||Ideal||IDUNA Verein. LV|
|MGM International Assurance||Münchener Verein||myLife|
|Neue Leben||NÜRNBERGER||NÜRNBERGER Beamten|
|Oeco Capital||Öffentliche Berlin||Öffentliche Braunschweig|
|Öffentliche Oldenburg||Öffentliche Sachsen-Anhalt||PBV Lebensversicherung|
|Prisma Life||Provinzial NordWest||Provinzial Rheinland|
|Skandia||Sparkassen-Vers. Sachsen||Standard Life|
|VGH Versicherungen||VHV Leben||Volksfürsorge|
|Volkswohl Bund||VPV Leben||WGV|
|Württembergische||WWK 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.
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
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Please take note that we can not answer consultatively here. If you happen to request that anyways, you may give us full power of attorney. For that, simply download this form, sign it and return it to us.
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