Norbert Rollinger, head of R+V: fee level based on corona vaccination status

Frankfurt, Munich It is a statement with sociopolitical explosives. “As an insurance industry, sooner or later we will have to think about possibly differentiating rates based on vaccination status,” Norbert Rollinger, CEO of insurance cooperative R+V, told the T-Online website. When that will be the case depends on the question of how long the silent majority of those who have been vaccinated will allow stubborn refusal to vaccinate them, says Rollinger.

In practice, the initiative of the head of R+V could result, for example, in health insurance distinguishing between customers with full vaccine protection against Covid-19 and unvaccinated customers.

Health insurance companies can already differentiate between smokers and non-smokers, for example. The consequence could mean higher costs for unvaccinated clients. Limited services in the event that an unvaccinated client becomes ill with Covid-19 would also be conceivable.

When asked, R+V Versicherung stated that there are currently no considerations for such fees. “In our house there is no effort to do it,” says a spokesman.

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Even within the industry, one expresses restraint. According to a senior industry representative, there is no agreement between health insurers on a joint approach and no appropriate measures are being planned.

Lack of legal certainty

The VZBV (Federal Association of Consumer Centers) is against the introduction of different insurance rates for vaccinated and unvaccinated. “Now choosing an individual case with unvaccinated people is not convenient. Then you would also have to provide special rates in other cases, for example measles, ”said VZBV insurance expert Lars. Gatschkethe Handelsblatt.

Norbert Rollinger, head of R+V

“As an insurance industry, sooner or later we’re going to have to think about possibly differentiating rates based on vaccination status.”

(Photo: Bernd Roselieb for Handelsblatt)

The lack of legal certainty could also be a problem: “There is no obligation to lead a healthy life. That would not be reconcilable with the risk classification of private health insurance either. Clients would be classified at the beginning of the contract. If the health condition of the policyholder subsequently deteriorates, the insurer bears the cost risk. “Anything else would be a complete break with the insurance system,” emphasizes the VZBV expert.

Vaccination is a preventive protection measure, explains Elke Weidenbach from the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center. She compares a corona vaccine with protective measures against other diseases, such as screening for colon cancer or cervical cancer.

Here, too, a disease can occur despite preventive measures. “The insurer cannot reject the execution if these protection measures have not been used,” said the consumer advocate. This also applies, for example, to disability insurance benefits.

The procedure is also clearly regulated by the legislature. Article 201 of the Insurance Contract Law establishes that the obligation to provide benefits is only restricted if the insured intentionally caused the illness or accident. But then a client would have to have been knowingly infected with a Covid-19 disease.

In practice, this is likely to be unlikely and difficult for insurers to prove in individual cases. The mere fact that a customer decided not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus does not mean that he consciously wanted an illness that would occur later, according to an insurer.

Also, health insurers should not be able to ask whether or not a client with health insurance has been vaccinated. This also applies to the insurers’ own employees. The industry, on the other hand, relied on persuading its own employees. Nearly all of the big insurance companies did in-house deals on vaccinations.

The case could look a little different in the future if vaccination were made compulsory for certain professional groups. A corresponding regulation for employees in the health or nursing sector was recently in the political discussion.

Insurers could then possibly also have the opportunity to adjust the contractual structure of health insurance for these specific professional groups accordingly. However, the future federal government would have to grapple with these questions, according to a major insurer.

Clear specifications in case of disability

In the event of a possible inability to work in connection with a Covid 19 illness, the requirements are clear. In the event of a claim, the insurer may, for example, require the interested party to take all measures that cure the illness or that are appropriate for it. This must be possible for the sick client without any danger and without any particular pain.

How this should look in practice can be read from insurer to insurer in the respective contractual conditions. For example, some insurers make the prescription a condition.

Only if a disabled person does not meet the requirements of their insurer, this can affect their insurance benefits. “I don’t see vaccination as an appropriate measure because it doesn’t cure, it only prevents,” says consumer advocate Weidenbach. For R+V Versicherung, the proposal of its CEO, Norbert Rollinger, already had consequences on Tuesday. A shitstorm was unleashed against his statements on social networks.

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