Pension insurance (life insurance)

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As pension one is insurance contract refers to the life-long or abbreviated annuity pays. The survival of the insured person is insured.


A distinction is made between pension insurances after the start of the payment. The normal case is deferred annuities, which run over recurring premium-burdened periods until they are due at some point in the future. These insurances can also be paid for with a single premium . In contrast to this, so-called immediate pensions, which trigger an immediate (advance or post-payment) annuity payment against a single contribution .

Deferred annuity insurance can be arranged in such a way that, in addition to the annuity, a lump-sum payment option is provided. Occasionally there are mixed options of capital and pension. With the pension option, death can be covered by a so-called pension guarantee period. If the annuity dies during the agreed pension guarantee period, the surviving dependents will continue to receive the pension until the end of the period. It can also be agreed that the life annuity will not be paid for life, but, unless it ends earlier due to death, will be terminated after a previously agreed period (so-called temporary annuity ).

Pension insurances can provide that in the event of the death of the policyholder during the deferred period, the contributions paid are reimbursed or, in the event of death, the contributions paid minus the pensions already paid are reimbursed. Alternatively, it can be agreed that in the event of the death of the policyholder during the deferral period, a designated beneficiary will be paid an annuity (e.g. widow's pension) or a shortened annuity (orphan's pension). The agreement of a survivor's protection leads to a lower pension for the insured person with the same contribution.

Possible additional insurance

  • Additional occupational and disability insurance
  • Dread Disease (Serious Disease Prevention)
  • Additional accident insurance
  • Widow's and orphan's pension

Capital option

There is a limited right to choose from capital with the Riester pension , no right to choose the Rürup pension . The compatibility of pension guarantee periods is restricted by law for Riester pensions and Rürup pensions. Abbreviated annuities are added to the investment products in accordance with Section 20 of the Income Tax Act , which is why they are taxed with the flat rate tax .

No health check

Pension insurance differs from life insurance in the event of death in particular in that there is no health check. The state of health is irrelevant with the usual designs. Bad health reduces the insurer's risk that the annuity will live too long. Rather, the insurer will assume that only those people buy annuities who assume a rather long life expectancy for themselves.


Since no death protection is taken over, but the longevity risk is covered, there are also differences in the risk contribution . A risk contribution for additional benefits in the event of death is not taken into account in the premium, as is the case for insurance against death. Rather, the additional benefits for long-term annuities are financed from the pensions saved for those who die prematurely, so the parts of the contributions not required for pension payments are inherited by the survivors . Therefore, annuities do not need to finance all of their pension payments themselves. With a long life, annuities get back much more than they have ever paid in. In contrast, those who die prematurely receive significantly less than what was paid for. The purpose of pension insurance is not to give something to the bereaved, but to secure the livelihood of the annuity as much as possible for the rest of his life.

Mathematical basics

In traditional actuarial mathematics , the contribution is determined in such a way that it corresponds exactly to the future obligations expected according to the assumptions (principle of equivalence) . The probability that the pension payment will occur, i.e. the probability that the insured person will experience the point in time, and the interest or discounting must be taken into account. Since the probability of experience and the discount factors decrease the further the point in time is in the future, a relatively high pension can be secured in the event of survival for relatively small payments. This is the basis of the great importance of pension insurance for old-age provision .

In private pension insurance, the pension factor is an important calculation variable. The pension factor indicates how much pension insured persons receive monthly per 10,000 euros of capital that is available in their contract at the start of the pension payment. A calculation example: With a pension factor of 30 and an accumulated capital of 40,000 euros, this results in a monthly, lifelong pension of 120 euros.

Company pension scheme

Every employee has a legal right to a company pension. If an employer does not offer a company pension solution, it must provide its employees with a company pension in the form of B. grant a direct insurance. The employee must pay the contributions himself through a so-called salary conversion from his gross wage. There is no obligation of the employer to make his own expenditure in these contracts. However, many employers use this option for employee loyalty and motivation. The advantage for employees lies in the tax and social security contribution savings when paying. For this, a later payment must be taxed. If there is statutory health insurance, contributions must also be paid for this.

Alternatively, the employer can organize pension insurance for his employees through various providers as part of the company pension scheme. See also pension fund , pension fund , direct insurance , support fund .

Interest rate and life table

Due to the provisions of the Insurance Supervision Act , the interest rate used to calculate the premium may not be higher than can be earned over the long term. The insurer must be able to create the legally required actuarial reserve .

But even with a private pension insurance, income taxes are due from the beginning of the pension in accordance with Section 22 EStG. A portion of the income from the private pension must be taxed at the start of retirement.

Start of retirement at old age Taxable portion of private pension
60 22%
61 22%
62 21%
63 20%
64 19%
65 18%

Mortality tables show that the life expectancy of the population has been increasing for a long time, with the result that annuities have to be paid longer and longer. Therefore , less of the safety surcharges in the premiums, which - if they are not needed - are returned to the policyholders in the form of profit sharing, remain less than was originally expected. This means that the pension increases from the surplus participation are also lower than might have been hoped for, or they do not apply at all. If life expectancy continues to rise so much, and with it the pensions paid to the annuity, that an insurer can no longer finance this from the contributions despite all the safety surcharges, the pension amounts may also be reduced in an emergency to avoid the insurer's bankruptcy and thus a loss avoid the retirement benefits of all annuities. Overall, the annuities get paid more than expected due to the longer pension payments, even if the individual pension amounts are reduced.

Therefore, insurers must regularly check whether the actuarial reserves they hold for provision are still sufficient. Insofar as this is no longer sufficiently secured with a careful assessment of future life expectancy on the basis of the observed current development, the insurers must increase their provisions accordingly. For this purpose, in addition to burdening the insurer's owners, the surpluses that would otherwise be continuously distributed to the policyholders are also reduced.


A number of topics related to pension insurance are constantly being discussed:

Subsequent reservation in existing contracts

The life expectancy of the population is constantly increasing. In the past, this effect was not sufficiently taken into account in existing contracts. The insurers create additional cover funds by making additional reservations. As a result, the ongoing annual increases from the surplus participation are lower.

Unrealistic assumptions in life expectancy

In the meantime, insurers have calculated the longevity risk very carefully. The current DAV 2004R pension table goes z. For example, for a girl born today, assume a life expectancy of 103 years. This reduces the pension promises excessively.

High fees and costs

In the specialist press and in comparative tests, insurers' contract costs are repeatedly mentioned as a negative criterion. In practice, these increasingly reduce the returns for consumers. In order to create more transparency for consumers, a so-called effective cost ratio was introduced by the legislator. Based on this, the total contract costs can be compared. Net policies that completely dispense with acquisition costs are also becoming more and more attractive.

Sale on the secondary market

Since the pension system requires a Ansparleistung, insurers an annual which resulted in the surrender value to report, the pension system is like the capital stock covered life insurance also for sale on the secondary market for life insurance . On the secondary market, private companies offer to pay out a purchase price above surrender value and to continue the insurance policy.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. General Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV): What the pension factor means for the insured ( memento from January 6, 2017 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 6, 2017
  2. Tax at the start of retirement , accessed on March 21, 2013.
  3. Analysis and hedging of risks in life insurance business by Nicole Bowe, Thorsten Keil, Wolfgang Schanz May 17, 2012
  4. Consumer advice center Bremen: Mortality tables as required ( Memento from May 26, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) May 17, 2012.
  5. Federal Association of Asset Investments in the Secondary Market for Life Insurance (BVZL) eV: Secondary market for life and pension insurance in Germany , accessed on January 10, 2014