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UNIQA ‘Flex Solution’
In 2021, the Higher Regional Court of Vienna ruled that the insurance firm UNIQA sold a unit-linked life insurance product to a consumer with an opaque and therefore illegal guarantee clause. The case was brought forward by our member Verein for Konsumenteninformation on behalf of an affected consumer.
UNIQA promised the customer in question a guaranteed return when taking out a unit-linked life insurance policy with a capital guarantee (‘Flex Solution’). However, the Court ruled that UNIQA relied on opaque guarantee clauses when it sold this unit-linked life insurance contract to the consumer. The court ruled that due to a lack of transparency in the guarantee clause, the insurance firm should not have been entitled to deduct certain types of costs from the capital guarantee (such as the closing cost, administrative costs, or risk contributions). The deduction of these costs meant that the consumer ultimately received only 82% of their invested premiums during the course of their investment.
In May 2021, UNIQA was required to compensate the affected consumer €28,000. A large number of policyholders are likely to be affected by the same or comparable opaque guarantee clauses in unit-linked life insurance contracts offered to Austrian consumers. This judgment will ensure that insurers will need to compensate policyholders who have been affected by these non-transparent guarantee clauses.