The basic or Rürup pension is often sold as a tax-saving old-age provision for the self-employed. But high costs and low returns make for disappointment. The exit is often only possible with a revocation.
Many owners of a basic pension are dissatisfied. Because the private old-age provision, also known as the Rürup pension after its inventor, is proving to be a trap for many of their money. Only after the conclusion do they realize that they cannot cancel the policies if they ever need their money. There is also no plan for a one-off payment when you reach retirement age, just a monthly pension. In addition, high costs ruin the return.
Especially the self-employed - the actual target group of the basic or Rürup pension - complain that the insurance offers far too little flexibility. Especially when the professional situation changes at short notice, it would be important to be able to fall back on accumulated reserves. However, intermediaries often do not clarify these restrictions.
It is all the more important that many courts are currently allowing customers of basic pensions a kind of "emergency exit" with which they can still get their money - with a so-called revocation. Unlike termination, a revocation is possible if the insurance company has not informed the customer adequately about his right of revocation or if essential information is missing from the contract documents.
Then the owner of a basic pension can still revoke his contract many years after conclusion. Because in this case it is a so-called "perpetual right of withdrawal". So there is no statute of limitations. The consequence of such a revocation: The contract is reversed. The customer not only gets his money back, but also interest and a large part of the costs. Contrary to reports to the contrary, not only policies up to 2008 are affected, but also a large number of younger contracts - at least up to 2019.
Several court decisions have recently strengthened the position of the insured. The Cologne Higher Regional Court (Az.: 20 U 158/22) decided that a contract with the Zurich Deutscher Herold did not meet the formal requirements. The customer who had paid 7,200 euros into the basic pension will receive around 8,100 euros back as a result of the revocation.
Allianz Versicherung received a defeat before the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court (Az.: 12 U 343/21). The court ruled that the customer had not been properly instructed about his right of withdrawal. This judgment is currently being appealed to the Federal Court of Justice.
The district court of Cologne (Az.: 120205/22) has ordered Canada Life to rescind a Rürup pension. There, too, the customer received more back than he had paid in.
Whether a basic pension can actually be revoked must always be checked on a case-by-case basis. Our experience shows that with the following insurance companies, among others, there is a good chance of getting out of an ongoing contract if the policy was taken out by a certain point in time:
This raises the question of whether owners of a Rürup pension must also reimburse the tax benefits from which they benefited in the event of a revocation. Because for many, a basic pension is also a tax-saving model. Deposits may be deducted from income for the most part. Here, the Düsseldorf Finance Court (Az.: 1 K 292/19 E) has now created clarity: the tax advantage only has to be reimbursed for the past four years. The insured person can retain earlier tax benefits even in the event of a reversal.
About the author: Roland Klaus is the founder of the revocation interest group, which deals with consumer protection issues. He became known as a Frankfurt stock exchange reporter for n-tv, N24 and the US financial broadcaster CNBC.