The Federal Law on Insurance Contracts (VVG) sets out provisions governing the relationships between insurers and their customers. The existing law is already more than 100 years old and no longer meets the requirements associated with modern-day consumer protection, which is why it has now been revamped.
The changes include greater protection for policyholders and provisions to take account of modern means of communication.
You will be able to process a lot of documents that you have had to sign by hand to date by email, for example a notice of termination.
The changes will come into force on 1 January 2022 and will apply to both new and existing insurance contracts at Baloise.
By law, the revised provisions apply to all contracts taken out as of 1 January 2022.
The new provisions do not apply to marine insurance, collective life insurance or compulsory insurance under the Federal Law on Accident Insurance (UVG).
As we want all of our customers to benefit from the consumer-friendly changes, Baloise will be granting you all of the new rights starting on 1 January 2022, even for existing insurance contracts. In this respect, Baloise is going further than the legislator, which only gives existing customers the right to termination for convenience and allows them to conduct electronic business transactions.
Your existing insurance contracts will remain in force and neither the scope of insurance cover nor your premiums will change in any way.
The introduction of the new right to termination for convenience means that you can now terminate your insurance contracts with effect from the end of the third and each subsequent year, giving three months’ notice, irrespective of any contractually agreed term. The insurer also has this right to termination.
This right to termination does not apply to life insurance or to supplementary social health insurance. Life insurance policies can already be terminated after one year has expired, while in supplementary social health insurance, the right to termination is only open to the policyholder.
If the risk for the insured risks is significantly reduced during the term of the contract, you can now terminate the insurance contract with a notice period of four weeks or request a reduction of the premium in line with the decrease in risk.
A decrease in risk is considered to be significant if it is based on a change in circumstances that are significant to the assessment of the risk (Art. 4 VVG). This means that the circumstances have to change in such a way that the likelihood of loss occurring or the extent of the loss or damage is reduced. If, for example, a new avalanche barrier is built in a village in the mountains, the natural hazard loss risk associated with the buildings in this village is reduced.
By contrast, reductions in the insured benefits (e.g. reduction in the insured amount) or the insured interest (insured items/people/assets, e.g. demolition of a building extension) do not count as decreases in risk.
One change is the fact that you can now issue valid notice of termination by email or SMS. This means that you no longer have to sign your notice of termination by hand. Text on a suitable medium, without a signature, is sufficient.
In the future, you will have the right to cancel your decision to take out an insurance contract for a period of 14 days.
One new aspect is the fact that insurance cover can be granted for the past by mutual consent, as long as the policyholder and the insurer know that the risk has already materialised. Retroactive insurance was prohibited under the old legislation.
The limitation period for claims under the insurance contract has been extended: you can now assert claims against us under your insurance contract for a period of up to five years after the event occurred.
If, in the event of an insured event, your claim for benefits is not disputed in principle but only in terms of amount, you will receive payments on account from us for the undisputed amount in the future.
In the event of a breach of the duty of disclosure, you will no longer be denied the full benefits in the event of a claim. Rather, the benefits will merely be reduced to the extent that the breach had an impact on the occurrence or the scope of the loss/damage.
In the case of an insured liability event, the injured party now has the option of claiming benefits directly from the liable party’s liability insurer.
You have the option to cancel insurance contracts concluded subsequently if the same risk was unknowingly insured more than once. Notice of termination must be given within four weeks of the discovery of the multiple insurance.
You can request that life insurance policies be either converted into a paid-up policy or surrendered, irrespective of whether premiums have been paid for at least three years. This is subject to the proviso that there is already a conversion value or surrender value at the relevant point in time.