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 unit-linked life insurance successfully enforced against SwissLife Liechtenstein (legal successor of Capital Leben)
The Princely Supreme Court has now ruled for the first time in a legally binding manner in one of our cases, confirming the first-instance ruling of the Princely Regional Court that policyholders are entitled to a perpetual right of withdrawal under Art 65 VersVG (Liechtenstein Insurance Contract Act) if they have not been properly 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.
It was clarified that the conclusion of a life insurance contract requires acceptance, which would regularly become perfect by sending the policy. Since the change in the legal situation had already been announced sufficiently in advance, it would have been possible for the insurance company to fit the cancellation instruction into the insurance documents without any problems.