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“Who will save the life-insured?”

This question was posed recently by the FAZ publisher Holger Steltzner (FAZ, 13.3.2014, p. 17), by which he probably meant that the adverse reputation attached to life insurance companies will not improve, despite a planned package of new laws. Life insurance companies can be regarded as a hot iron that nobody should grasp, because the almost non-existent interest brought about by the daily loss of value of the Euro and the supposed Euro rescue, mean that the guaranteed interest rate (and even the interest rate which is supposed to guarantee it), has become the plaything of party-political election campaigns, and therefore invalid.
Steltzner explains: “Risk life insurance serves for the financial security of dependents in the event of death; capital life insurance can also be a provision for old age.” With every form of life insurance, there is a time when money is paid in, and the payment day (the time from which money is paid out). “If an insurer buys a share for € 100 from the customer’s premium, its book value on the balance sheet remains at € 100 even five years later, even if the rate has increased to € 120. The € 20 difference between the market value and the purchase value is the so-called valuation reserve or silent reserve. Since an amendment to the law in 2008, insurance companies must pay out half of this valuation reserve to their customers whose policies are coming to an end.” The guidelines on dividends are also to be changed, “since the insurers are at the moment having to pay out a great deal of money in dividends.” This is due to the fact that many life insurance policies are coming to an end, and because the guaranteed interest rates are not remaining stable. While in earlier years they were as high as 4%, the current figure is only 1.75%. The Federal Finance Ministry cannot pay out any more, and is deceiving investors and savers.
Politicians, banks and insurers omitted to tell investors, who were saving for the legally guaranteed profit, that the legally guaranteed profit from life insurance policies would in future bring in less than it seemed to do when the policy was first taken out. Life insurance was considered to be stable in value, because they were considered as investments by the Insurance Supervision Act, which alternatively prescribed assets in investments eligible to cover investments. Gilt-edged assets in particular were to be used, i.e. securities in the form of debt titles, such as government bonds for example. Life insurers were a support for the national economy, but at the same time were also delivered up to the state, because life insurers also held government bonds of the (indebted) countries, which the seller of the insurance policies had sold as gilt-edged.
This gilt-edged security of the investments der Anlagen, for which percentage limits are laid down in the Insurance Supervision Act, which in some cases concerned shares whose quota had been increased, in order to enable a certain greater economic involvement for life insurance companies, are considered in this investment catalogue as legally secure against insolvency, as opposed to the fact of an insolvency security obligation, e.g. of the payments from the internal retirement provision via the “Pensionssicherungsverein AG (Köln)”, for which additional contributions must then be deducted from businesses, because they could not be assumed to have the insolvency security of the asset investment catalogue, as offered by the providers of life insurance policies in accordance with the legal principle. Although they were seen as transactions based on trust, this insurance business was not worthy of trust, and nor is it so now (any longer).
The Merkel government thus managed to achieve, without this attempted deception, to publish that the value of assets in capital, or in this case invested assets, of the life insurance companies, was steadily falling. The higher the proportion of such investments in the overall asset investments of the individual insurance company, the greater effect the weakness of the country has on the claims of insured persons to pensions or capital payments, which are also falling in value. Yet that is not all when it comes to losses. The financial repression led to a drastic reduction of the base interest rate of the European Central Bank. This resulted in falling interest on savings, so that savers are forced to accept annual losses in purchasing power due to the low interest rates.
The press cited between € 14 and € 21 billion in interest losses for the years 2013/2014. This political central bank action means for the saving population, and above all the small investor, that they are deprived of part of the interest which should actually be provided by the market, or in other words is retained, in order to be able to top up from the too little interest paid that which should not be found from interest in order to avoid national bankruptcy, nor for the national debt of Germany in the national budget. The state, which by means of its policy is responsible for the national debt, is therefore exploiting its savers, who have no share or responsibility for the national losses, in order to plug the holes in the public purse of a country threatened with bankruptcy. Nothing could be more underhand, and it must be accepted that this procedure is intended, and even controlled, by politics. If the Federal Government now wants to relieve the burden on the life insurers with a new package of laws, this can only mean that the loss in value of these policies, and the years of deception practiced by the insurers and politics are being placed on a new legal basis, which is in line with what the politicians want: the savings. The yawning provision gap between the pension providers and the attempted private compensation, will neither suspend the policy, nor stop the insurance companies benefitting from the miniscule interest rates.
Finally: Do not take out any more life insurance! And anyone who still has a life insurance policy should find out immediately from an independent counselling service whether it would be better for them to liquidate their policy now, rather than to wait for the inevitable loss that will occur. And that is also the point of the article by Holger Steltzner: “Now it is the life insurance companies which have to be rescued. The step forward is that this time it is not the taxpayer who will have to foot the bill, as in the case of the banks, but customers and owners who will be asked to pay up. They should not however be lulled by politics into protecting the insured against the consequences of the low interest phase. Nobody forced the insurers to go fishing for customers with high interest guarantees. The industry itself has also ensured the excessive business festival. In view of the overpriced commission, it sounds like mockery in the ears of the customers, if the insurance companies now pretend as if they were acting in the service of the public interest, when they re-book valuation profits from old policies in favour of new business. Since when has there ever been anything like a transfer procedure or a generation policy in the private insurance industry. Even the 0 interest rate did not appear out of thin air. Fiscal and monetary politicians have worked diligently towards this end. And also that most money has to be invested in government bonds with meagre interest. The insured can well do without hypocrisy.”
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