The Maag Law Office specializes in insurance law, policies and claims for insurance policyholders. Located in Düsseldorf-Flingern and with longstanding experience and expertise in the legal field, my services include (but are not limited to) consulting and representing insurance policyholders.
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Those who sign an insurance policy usually assume that they are insuring themselves against a specific risk. All too often, insurance companies offer policies with “carefree comprehensive protection”, lending policyholders the impression that they enjoy the best possible coverage and are insured against the worst.
Insurance providers place a premium on being able to accurately assess risks during the enrollment process. Especially in the fields of personal liability insurance, disability insurance and health insurance, the customer assumes he or she is receiving prudential advice before signing a policy. This is understandable, as few policyholders are conversant in the language of insurance, a specialized form of legalese. The problem is that a given policy does not always match the wants or
needs of the policyholder. What is more, it is only seldom clear what exactly is covered by a particular insurance policy.
In case of damages or claims, the following question works as a litmus test of sorts for the
policyholder: is the insurance provider actually working to settle the claim, or is it simply reneging on its responsibility to provide coverage?
Considering that more than 50 million insurance claims are filed per year, this question comes up all too often. This is not to say that insurance providers generally break their policy commitments or systemically deny policyholder claims. The fact that insurance providers themselves investigate whether and how much must be paid in the event of a claim, however, can be very frustrating for many policyholders. They assume that their policy assures them assistance but are then faced with obstructions in getting providers to honor their agreements. The providers’ explanations for denials
of claims are full of technical terms (like “policy conditions”, “risk exclusion clauses”, etc.) and
obfuscation. This can make it very difficult for “laypeople” to understand, much less respond to, denials of claims.
Insurance law is a consumer right. At least since the reform of the German Insurance Contract Act (2008), modern consumer rights have been firmly anchored in insurance law. While in other consumer rights fields such as tenancy law and employment law, it has been officially acknowledged that the consumer (the renter or employee) is in a comparatively weak position and is therefore guaranteed strong legal protection, this is not necessarily the case in the field of insurance law.
Policyholders still fear the all-powerful “Goliaths”, the insurance companies. This is not to say that all insurance claims can be settled in favor of the policyholder. At the very least, a consultation with me, an insurance law expert, offers policyholders the chance to critically review the insurance provider’s decisions and to explore possible legal remedies. This can help steer the filing of a claim or counterclaim in a direction favorable to the policyholder by letting the provider know that the policyholder has an expert on his or her side.