Spectrum – FAQs
There are of course many questions about insurance. It is a complex subject. We have listed here the ‘top-twelve’. If you require more information on any of these, or have any other questions please do contact us.
We do not levy any charges or fees for our information and advice.
Q1. Is Spectrum an insurance Company?
A1. No - Spectrum is an independent insurance Broker, registered and licenced in Germany.
Q2. Is Spectrum tied to any single Insurance Company?
A2. No - Spectrum can offer any appropriate insurance in Germany to all nationalities, including German nationals. Mike Woodiwiss, the Proprietor of Spectrum, is registered with the German Chamber of Commerce and is authorised to offer and arrange Insurance products, including German Private and German Public Health Insurance (if eligible) and approved International Private health Insurance – as well as many other types of insurance.
Q3. A popular International Health insurance Company in Germany is aLC. Is aLC authorised in Germany?
A3. Yes - but aLC is not actually an insurance Company, therefore it is not required to be listed on the data base of the German Financial Services Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht – BaFin). This is only required to list Insurance Companies and Underwriters. aLC is a Managing General Agent (MGA) and provides its own Prima branded products which are insured and underwritten by Catlin Insurance Company (UK) Ltd.
aLC is authorised under the EU Cross Border Directives to sell its Prima branded products throughout the EU and has the required European Passport authorising this - Reg. No. 311496
Catlin Insurance Company is similarly authorised but additionally is also registered as an approved insurer in Germany by Bafin and has the BaFin data base reference number 7902.
Q4. The Immigration Offices sometimes decline international insurances – such as aLC - as not acceptable – why is this?
A4. The immigration offices (Ausländerbehörde – ABH) are often inconsistent. There are ABH in all Cities and major towns. All have their own rules however which invariably vary from one office to another. Rules can also even vary in different departments in the same office. Some applicants may not meet all the required criteria – i.e. not just in respect of health insurance, but income, assessed financial viability to sustain themselves without recourse to German Social Welfare etc. – a major factor. The insurance however is the same for everyone so should not be stated as not acceptable for some, but acceptable for others.
Q5. Immigration Offices often say international insurance is too cheap and therefore cannot be adequate?
A5. The rates of international insurance are calculated by highly professional insurance Actuaries and relate to various factors including area of cover , which does affect the eventual average rate for the whole area. aLC for example offers cover across the whole of Europe and their rates are calculated based on average costs of medical treatment etc. German insurers calculate their rates based just on the costs of medical treatment in Germany alone – which has amongst the highest cost in Europe. Thus Law of Average would make aLC cheaper. There are also other factors.
Q6. It appears that aLC does not comply with certain German Laws?
A6. aLC and Catlin do comply with the relevant Laws. Some Laws apply only to specific categories of people - e.g. Employed people as opposed to Self-employed (Freelance). Some people including some other insurers, Brokers and authorities misinterpret certain Laws or take elements out of context. It is complex. Please contact us if you want more information
Q7. What is the cancellation policy for health insurance?
A7. Cancellation polices vary from one type of insurance to another. There are situations where cancellation must be available – such as change of employment status, leaving the Area of Cover permanently - e.g. Europe, or being declined a residence permit etc.
Q8. Is German insurance available to everyone?
A8. There are two types of German Insurance – Public and Private. Generally Public Insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung sometimes just referred to as Krankenkasse) is only available to Employed person. There are some rare exceptions. German Private (Privat Krankenversicherung) is available to Freelancers and some Employees earning over a set salary. German insurances all have stringent terms and conditions. Most will not take any Non-EU citizen who has not been resident in Germany for at least than 2 years. There are a couple that will, but they require either confirmation from the Immigration authorities that a minimum 2 years residence permit will be issued, or will not take certain occupations or people with ‘low income.
Q9. Is it necessary for a Freelancer to contribute to the German State Pension
A9. Invariably the answer is YES - for most Freelancers - and specifically for Teachers/Instructors – but not all. There are some rare exemptions. Unlike most other countries freelancers (self-employed) are required to contribute to the German State Pension Fund. See our web page on Pensions
Q10. Is Liability insurance compulsory in Germany?
A10. Generally it is not, but if you have entered a contract – such as an apartment lease, or some form of work contract – employed or self-employed (Freelance) - the other party may insist upon it. Spectrum can advise on the various types of Liability insurance.
Q11. Is Long-Term Care Insurance - (Pflegeversicherung) - compulsory for everyone?
A11. This is a debateable. In fact there are a number of different types of Pflegeversicherung. The main question relates to Pflegepflichtversicherung (pflicht = compulsory) also referred to as PVN. We have contacted the German Ministry of Health who say it is compulsory for all residents – as indeed stated in the respective Social Law Book. There are however some insurers that do not offer this, including some German insurers who say it is not compulsory for persons who only have a temporary residence permit up to a maximum of 5 years. This would seem logical although there are some inconsistencies. When PVN when first introduced it had a 5 year deferred period (i.e. contributions had to be received for 5 years before it would pay out any benefits). This was subsequently reduced to 2 years. It should perhaps have followed that insurers reduced their exclusion for 2 years and not 5? Spectrum can offer PVN as required. Immigration authorities vary in their opinion as to whether PVN is necessary or not for a temporary residence permit, but do insist on it for permanent permits of 5 years or more.
Q12. Does Spectrum deal with applications for the Kunstlersozialkasse (KSK)?
A12. We used to do this, but it became more and more complex and time consuming for us. We can still offer information on KSK, but for processing of applications we now refer all enquiries to our colleague in Berlin - Teresa Lacherbauer. See our useful links page.