Millions of BGH verdict on life insurance

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news Millions of BGH verdict on life insurance News always well informed Tuesday, 10.02.15 , written by Bernd Lauberg The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has to answer in a recent judgment the question of how much money life insurance customers are entitled to. According to consumer advocates they are not sufficiently involved in the valuation reserves. For the individual, it is about hundreds to thousands of euros – for the insurance industry, it is a billion decision. > Versicherer fürchten Nachforderungen in Milliardenhöhe Life insurance: BGH checks calculation of reserves

The current judgment of the BGH deals with the hidden reserves in life insurance. In addition to the paid-in contributions and the normal profit sharing, insured persons also receive an interest in these so-called valuation reserves at the end of the contract. Insurers are obliged to – if the contract does not explicitly regulate otherwise – to include the policyholder at the half of the valuation reserves at the end of the contract. The ruling of the BGH, which is expected on Wednesday, should clarify whether the calculation – and thus participation – of the hidden reserves is appropriate or the customers are paid too little money .

Life insurance: BGH decides on additional payment

In the present case, the plaintiff had taken out a life insurance policy with Allianz in 1987 and received a total of EUR 28 026 at the end of the contract in 2008. Of this amount, € 9,124 was accounted for by the surplus participation, including the participation in the valuation reserves. According to the plaintiff, the 657 euro are too little, because the valuation reserves were inadmissibly offset with the final profit participation . (Az. IV ZR 213/14)

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Consumer advocates demand more transparency

Consumer advocates such as the Confederation of Insured eV have been complaining for years that insurers would artificially low their participation in the valuation reserves for consumers through this and similar offsetting. In addition, it is not transparent for the insured how the corresponding calculations are made .

BGH judgment could cost life insurance billions

So far, the action in the lower courts had no success, so that the process has now landed in revision before the Federal Court. Thus, the upcoming judgment has signal effect for the whole industry . If the judges in Karlsruhe decide on the plaintiff, the entire insurance industry faces additional claims from life insurance customers whose contracts were concluded before 2008. In view of a total of more than 87 million life insurance policies in Germany , this is billions of euros for insurance customers and companies .

Update February 11, 2015: The judges have decided against the plaintiff's opinion. Therefore, the alliance does not have to pay any more money or explain exactly how the payment is made. For the BdV "the verdict is a slap in the face." The association criticizes that insured persons must continue to rely on the statements of the companies without a possibility of control. Since there was no consumer protection-hoped for a fundamental verdict, the industry is spared a billion-dollar verdict.

What are hidden reserves?

The hidden reserves represent the difference between the acquisition cost and the current market value of the investments in which life insurance was invested.

BGH judgment: life insurance and Co. soon more transparent?

Even more important than the question of how much money customers are entitled to a life insurance policy is, moreover, the answer to the question as to whether the insurance companies should be required to provide information regarding the actuarial basis for surplus calculation. Insurance customers could then better understand in the future, as the insurer has calculated the amount of hidden reserves. Axel Kleinlein, CEO of the Association of Insured (BdV) evaluated in the run-up to such a decision as an "important step against the steady deterioration of the consumer position."

Just last year, the LVRG passed a new regulation on participation in valuation reserves. The BdV asked the Federal President even the law due to "constitutional concerns" not to sign .

Here you will find tips and more information about life insurance. >

Bernd Lauberg

editorial staff

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