Hamburg Regional High Court – 27 September 2018 – 1 U 2/18, DO intermediaries have a duty to monitor the insured’s situation annually?
An insured took out home insurance through a broker. The insured’s financial situation changed during the contract, enabling him to purchase valuable watches and jewellery. Some time after these purchases, the residence was burgled in his absence and these items were stolen. The policyholder submitted a claim for compensation to his insurer, which the insurer denied on the grounds that the insurance taken out did not cover him against the theft of these items, which should have been disclosed in the policy. The insured then sued the intermediary, contending that it should have inquired about changes in the insured’s financial situation throughout the term of the policy and provided him with appropriate advice.
The court held that an insurance broker has a duty to advise its client, in particular with respect to possible adjustments to cover in the event of changes in the insured’s situation, provided the insured informs it thereof. The intermediary is therefore only required to provide related advice if it is aware of such changes, for which the insured has the responsibility to inform the intermediary, and which had not occurred in this case.
An insurance broker is therefore not required to inquire, at its own initiative, about changes to the insured’s situation, whether continuously or annually, in order to optimise the insurance on an ongoing basis. However, if the changes had been “external” to the insured’s situation – for example, concerning the statutes or regulations in force