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A policyholder is the contracting party to an insurance contract who takes insurance cover and owes the insurance premium . The contractual partner is the insurer who offers the insurance cover.

Legal position of the policyholder

The policyholder can be either a natural or a legal person . The policyholder concludes the insurance contract with the insurer and thus decides on the content of the contract. When agreeing the content of the contract, both parties are largely free to the extent that there are no legal limits , in particular the Insurance Contract Act (Germany). In reality, the insurer specifies the terms of the contract, as the nature of an insurance policy consists in balancing out a large number of similar risks from contracts of the same type. Accordingly, in order to achieve this risk equalization, insurers must design all contracts for one risk in the same way. This is the only way to control the risks that are insured.

The policyholder is

  • obliged to pay the agreed insurance premium
  • affected by the insured risk ( insured interest )
  • regularly the insured person
  • entitled to receive the insurance benefits or, in the case of provision, to a third party (in his favor) - e.g. B. for exemption from liability by paying an injured party
  • entitled to exercise all design rights provided for in the contract, e.g. B. to give notice of termination, to make changes to the contract
  • obliged to ensure compliance with contractual obligations ,

unless the contract expressly stipulates otherwise.

The premium payment by another person is only made in the internal relationship between the policyholder and the premium payer. The insurer must be notified of the fact that the contributor and the policyholder are not identical. Under certain conditions, it is also possible to insure dangers to which other people or their property are exposed.

The policyholder can also designate another person as the beneficiary of the service, or pledge , assign (Germany) or lend the contract and also give another person design rights from the contract, e.g. B. as part of an assignment. This will only be effective for the insurer if the insurer has been informed about it in advance.

The contract can stipulate that obligations must also be complied with by third parties in order not to endanger the insurance cover. This applies in particular if the risks of other people are insured.

Policyholder protection

The insurance regulations define the legally stipulated range of benefits. The insurance provisions regularly do not take into account the fact that the insurer generally has a clear knowledge advantage when it comes to assessing the risk. On the other hand, the policyholder overlooks his own risk much better and is generally able to take advantage of himself.

Therefore, insurance contract law provides protective provisions for the insurer and the policyholder. Also, the insurance regulation (Germany) helps protect policyholders and other beneficiaries when the contract. It is intended to ensure that long-term contracts, which are often concluded in the event of serious losses, can be fulfilled by the insurer in the event of a claim. In recent years the law, which used to concentrate more on the protection of insurers, has increasingly focused on the protection of policyholders, as they are now seen as more in need of protection. A change of policyholder is also possible (see following section).

Change of policyholder

In the insurance contract law is the power creditor from the exchange policyholder exchange spoken. The new policyholder thus fully assumes the rights and obligations arising from the contractual relationship. This entry does not count as the conclusion of a new contract for tax purposes. The change in policyholders is of greatest importance in the secondary market for life insurance , in which claims from existing life insurance contracts are traded during the term of the contract. Colloquially, the term “used contracts” ( second hand policies ) is also used to distinguish it from the conclusion of new contracts. The insured person is not exchanged. In the area of life / annuity insurance, the following applies: The new policyholder can deduct the contributions that are due after his entry as pension expenses in accordance with the tax provisions applicable to this contract , even if the remaining contract term is less than the "tax" period of 12 years remains.

The insurer must notify the tax office of a change of policyholder, because property values ​​are transferred with the change of policyholder.

Web links

Wiktionary: Policyholder  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Julia Wernicke: The secondary market for life insurance in the Federal Republic of Germany
  2. Werner Cristofolini: Insurance theory, Volume 2