The insurance policy
Insurance is an agreement you and the insurer each enter into. The policy is your proof that the agreement has been made. It summarises the risks you are insured against, and refers to the policy conditions. These are the conditions that your insurer has imposed by on the policy.
It is important to read the policy conditions before concluding the insurance agreement. If you have questions, you should contact the insurer or intermediary. For more complex products, there is a 'key features document' explaining the product’s properties in more detail. The AFM supervises the accuracy of key features documents.
When taking out an insurance policy, you should pay particular attention to:
- the range of risks covered or not covered by the policy
- what you must do to lodge a claim for damages or life insurance payments
- whether your policy will be tacitly renewed
- how you may cancel the insurance
Types of insurance
Insurance comes in different types: life insurance, non-life insurance and funeral in-kind insurance.
- Life insurance
This is insurance on the life and death of a person. The insurer undertakes to pay an agreed amount if the insured dies before the maturity date, or else an agreed amount on the maturity date. Note!: personal accident insurance is not the same as life insurance.
- Non-life insurance
Non-life insurance provides protection against specific losses. Such losses may be of a material kind – think of car or fire insurance – or they may be non-material, as in the case of health or legal expenses insurance.
- Funeral in-kind insurance
Funeral in-kind insurers pay out in kind rather than cash. When the policyholder dies, theinsurer not only bears the expenses but takes care of the funeral arrangements as well – as against ordinary funeral expense insurance, where an amount is paid out and the beneficiary is responsible for making funeral arrangements.
Licencing and registers
A company that wants to do insurance business needs a licence. Every licensed insurer has an entry in the Registers of insurers kept by DNB. A licence is granted only if the prospective insurer has sufficient funds available and is managed by trustworthy and knowledgeable directors. While supervision by DNB substantially reduces the chances that an institution will run into difficulties, guarantees cannot be given.
DNB supervises registered insurers under the Insurance Business Supervision Act 1993 (Wet toezicht verzekeringsbedrijf 1993 / IBSA) and the Funeral In-kind Insurance Business Supervision Act (Wet toezicht natura-uitvaartverzekeringsbedrijf / FIBSA). Links to the Insurers’ Registers and the text of the relevant laws are to be found at the bottom of this page.
Insurance products may also be marketed by (branch offices of) foreign insurers, provided they have been licenced in another EU Member State and provided they have duly registered with DNB. Such foreign insurers are supervised by the authorities of their home country rather than by DNB. This is because insurance supervision throughout the EU has been implemented along very similar lines according to European Directives. If a foreign (EU-based) insurer offers its products in theNetherlandsdirectly, i.e. without having an office in theNetherlands, this is called ‘free provision of services’ (vrije dienstverrichting).
A list of all duly registered foreign insurers is available in the Registers of Insurers, which are available for downloading from the bottom of this page.
Many insurers market their products through intermediaries (tussenpersonen). Such intermediaries are under the supervision of the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM).