Member States may require more information from life assurance companies than that listed in the Third Life Assurance Directive

The Third Life Assurance Directive lists information that life assurance companies have to send to their clients1.

In the Van Leeuwen’s case of the 29th April 2015, the Court was required to rule on the issue of whether a Member State may require more information to be send to their clients by the life assurance companies 2.

Part of the dispute relates to whether a life assurance company gave sufficient information concerning costs and premiums deducted by the insurer in respect of the death risk cover and the risk premiums before the assurance contract was taken out. In particular, the fact that the client was not sent a summary or full overview of the actual and/or absolute costs and their composition is in dispute.

The Court recalled first of all that such additional information may be required by Member State. However, additional information Member States may require must be clear, accurate and necessary for a proper understanding of the essential characteristics of assurance products proposed to the policyholder 3.

An obligation to provide additional information can therefore be imposed only where it is necessary to achieving the objective of informing the policyholder and where the information required is clear and accurate in order to achieve that objective and thus, in particular, in order to guarantee the insurance companies a sufficient level of legal certainty.
In that regard, the Court points out that the Member States are not bound to require insurance companies to provide additional information.
They have the choice of doing so or not.

Nonetheless, those companies must be able to identify that additional information with sufficient foreseeability 4.

  1. Council Directive 92/96/EEC of 10 November 1992 on the coordination of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to direct life assurance and amending Directives 79/267/EEC and 90/619/EEC (third life assurance Directive)
  2. Court of Justice, Case C-51/13, Nationale-Nederlanden Levensverzekering Mij NVv Hubertus Wilhelmus Van Leeuwen, 29 April 2015
  3. Article 31 Directive 92/96/EEC
  4. Court of Justice, PR 45/15, 29 April 2015
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