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:

Aachen­MünchenerAl­li­anzAlte Leipzi­ger
ARAGAs­pectaAs­se­cura
As­stelAXABar­menia
BaslerBay­ern VersicherungBer­lin­is­che Leben / Athene
Canada LifeCiVCler­ical Med­ical / Scot. Widows
Con­cor­diaCondorCon­tin­entale
Cos­mos DirektDANVDBV Win­ter­thur
De­bekaDeutsche Ärztever­sicher­ungDEVK Eis­en­bahn
DEVKAllg. Lebens­ver­sicher­ungDia­lo­g­Die Bayerische
ERGOERGO DirektEUROPA
Fam­i­li­en­für­sorgeFu­turaGen­er­ali
GothaerHan­nov­er­sche LebenHanse­Merkur
HDIHeidel­ber­ger LebenHel­ve­tia
HUKIdealIDUNA Ver­ein. LV
INTERRInt­er­RiskItze­hoer
Karls­ruherLandesleben­shilfeLiberty Europe
LV 1871LVMMecklen­bur­gis­che
MGM In­ter­na­tional AssuranceMünchener Ver­einmyLife
Neue LebenNÜRN­BER­GERNÜRN­BER­GER Beamten
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@​schirp.​com

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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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