Policyholders of unit-linked life insurance policies suffered a considerable loss, not least due to the enormous fee burden and the negative performance of the underlying funds.
Insurance companies are liable for lack of information and in general for the unsuitability of their insurance investment products.
Due to the numerous proceedings conducted in Liechtenstein, Attorney Dr. Scheiber has extensive experience in this area and has published the book "Versicherungsanlageprodukte: Aufklärung und Haftung im Rechtsvergleich Österreich, Deutschland, Liechtenstein". As a rule, the policyholders were also not properly informed about their right of withdrawal. The right of withdrawal is the subject of many court decisions.
In view of the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on joined cases C-355/18, C-356/18, C-357/18 and C-479/18, the Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) last ruled in February 2020 (see 7 Ob 6/20p, 7 Ob 4/20v) that
- a withdrawal is still permissible for contracts that have already been terminated and paid out;
- however, neither an unlawful requirement of the written form nor an incorrect instruction about the beginning of the withdrawal period ("from the conclusion of the contract" instead of "notification of the conclusion of the contract") leads to an unlimited right of withdrawal according to § 165a VersVG.
NEWS: Current proceedings in Liechtenstein
Right of withdrawal from unitlinked life insurance successfully enforced against SwissLife Liechtenstein
The Princely Regional Court has ruled for the first time that policyholders have a perpetual right of withdrawal in accordance with Art 65 VersVG (Liechtenstein Insurance Contract Act) if they have not been duly informed about the right of withdrawal.
Art 65 VersVG in its corresponding version provided for a right of withdrawal by the policyholder within one month of the conclusion of the contract.
In the insurance documents, the 14-day withdrawal period legally valid at the time of application was incorrectly indicated, whereas at the time of acceptance of the policy by sending it to the policyholder, the 1-month withdrawal period applied in any case.
The Princely Regional Court made it clear that the conclusion of a life insurance contract requires acceptance, which would regularly be perfected by sending the policy. After the change in the legal situation had been sufficiently announced in advance, it would have been possible for the insurance company to easily adapt the withdrawal instruction in the insurance documents accordingly.
The decision is not yet legally binding.