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Assistance is a service that helps customers of insurance companies and other companies immediately and directly. The basic idea of ​​the Assistance is to organize and provide emergency help on site around the clock. Assistance services were originally understood in the narrower sense to mean assistance, assistance, emergency and problem-solving services in connection with emergencies and cases of damage. Today, additional general services are also subsumed under this term.

Originally from the insurance industry, Assistance refers to immediate concrete help within the framework of an insurance contract, as opposed to subsequent reimbursement of costs. Insurers use assistance services to reduce claims costs on the one hand and to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty on the other . For a number of years, assistance services have also been increasingly used by other sectors ( automotive industry , energy supply companies, etc.).

However, the assistance and services are not organized by these companies themselves, but by assistance companies around the world. These specialist companies organize the services around the clock, including weekends and public holidays. The assistance companies usually use external service providers to implement the respective service on site. In addition to the organization of the services themselves, the management of networks of external service providers (so-called partner networks) is a core function of assistance companies.

The terminology

The term assistance has its origin in the Latin “assistere” - to stand by. The current use of the term can be derived from French and translated with the meaning "help, assistance or support". Assistance is an international term due to its linguistic roots. As a result, assistance was introduced as a technical terminus within the insurance industry and a translation into the respective national language was omitted.

Development history

Assistance was created in the course of the increasing mobility and travel activity of the European population after the Second World War. In the 1950s, traveling at home or abroad was still associated with considerable difficulties as soon as travelers fell ill, were involved in an accident with their car or the vehicle broke down. Especially abroad it was almost impossible to get quick, adequate help due to the language problems.

The Frenchman Pierre Desnos founded Europ Assistance as the first assistance company after a road accident involving a couple of friends abroad in 1963 . As a result, other companies were formed in France and other Western European countries. In Germany, on the other hand, the idea of ​​assistance gained acceptance rather hesitantly, as the traffic clubs established themselves particularly in the area of ​​breakdown assistance . The German assistance companies were founded in the 1980s. Around a dozen assistance companies currently share the market for assistance services in Germany. They also run the Assistance Partner company , the so-called "silver angels", in the area of ​​breakdown assistance . Leader of the German Assistance industry is the Allianz Group is part of AGA Service Germany GmbH .

The most important international providers of assistance services are AGA International SAS (sales 2011: € 2.1 billion), Europ Assistance (2007: € 1.05 billion), the International Assistance Group, International SOS and AXA Assistance (2005: € 621 million).

In 2012, the insurers' assistance companies employed almost 2,500 people in Germany.

The basic principle

Immediate help
Assistance services provide direct help in an emergency or service case.
Assistance services are called up and initiated over the phone. Telematics services are also becoming increasingly important.
Around the clock
Assistance services are provided around the clock, 365 days a year.
Depending on the provider, the services are available nationally, Europe-wide or worldwide.
The services are carried out on behalf of the client (insurance company, automobile manufacturer, etc.). If the assistance service cannot be provided directly by the assistance company, the company will involve other partner companies.
Partner networks
The management and controlling of global and quality-assured networks of cooperation partners in the various service areas (health, travel, vehicle, home, jurisprudence, etc.) are the core competencies of assistance companies. The large international assistance companies each use global partner networks ( clinics , doctors , Roadside assistance services , lawyers , care services, etc.).
Activity types
The service of an assistance company consists primarily of the mediation and / or implementation of assistance, in particular information, advisory and organizational services.

Service areas

As an assistance service, basically any type of service that an assistant can provide organizationally is conceivable. The main areas are:

Vehicle assistance (technical assistance)

The vehicle assistance includes services in the area of ​​breakdowns, accidents or theft. The services in this area are provided through breakdown assistance, towing and recovery services as well as the provision of rental cars or the organization of repair services. In addition, the assistants ensure the mobility of customers after an accident or breakdown. This includes, for example, the organization of onward travel by train, hotel accommodation, the dispatch of vehicle spare parts or the return transport of the vehicle. Vehicle assistance services are part of letters of protection or mobility guarantees .

Medical assistance

Services provided as part of medical travel assistance relate to the medical and psychological care of sick or injured people abroad as well as their return transport, the dispatch of medication or the repatriation in the event of death. Medical assistance also includes information services, such as medical advice before or during a trip on vaccination regulations or the like. Medical assistance services are part of many cover, accident and international travel health insurances. Individual assistants also offer help with special medical issues, such as diving accidents or dialysis trips abroad.

Travel assistance (tourist assistance)

The term travel assistance includes personal services in connection with trips abroad. As a supplement to the above-mentioned assistance services, travel assistance offers assistance with organizational problems or problems caused by theft during a trip. Credit cards are blocked, lost means of payment or travel documents are replaced, etc. In the event of flight delays that prevent further travel, accommodation in a hotel is arranged and a replacement flight is organized. In the business sector, this is understood to mean services that relate to the organization and process of business trips as well as assistance with lost laptops, mobile phones, etc.

Legal assistance

Legal assistance refers to legal support for customers or policyholders. This takes place either through legal advice over the phone, through internet-based legal advice or through referral to an experienced law firm on site. In the area of ​​legal protection insurance in particular, the additional services mentioned have now established themselves almost as standard services.

Home Assistance

House assistance refers to services in connection with private real estate or company buildings. The services include, for example, the organization of craftsmen or repair services, which are available around the clock. Guarding the property, key services or professional housekeepers can also be organized, as well as looking after pets. House assistance services are often linked to building or household insurance, but also to house insurance or electricity tariffs.

Health services

The domains of domestic health services include services such as the organization of outpatient care and support services, but also health information over the phone, as well as care over the phone for the chronically ill and rehabilitation management for accident victims. In addition to the services outlined above, this also offers assistance with reintegration into working life. In the event of severe injury or illness, assistance companies provide specific help in all areas of rehabilitation with rehabilitation management.

Convenience Services

These cover the entire range of services, such as ticket reservations for events, the worldwide procurement of gifts or flowers or information services on golf or tennis courts.


  • Esser, Martina (2004): Assistance in the insurance industry. A marketing-oriented approach to increasing company value . Passau series. Risk, Insurance and Financing. Karlsruhe: VVW.
  • Esser, Martina, Norbert Helmberger, Achim Hertel (1999). Assistance: a new service from the insurance industry. Munich: Gerling-Akad.-Verlag.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ General Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV) ( Memento of the original from January 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , "The Problem Solvers - Assists of the Insurers" (article of 19 July 2013). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /