Is an insurer or broker liable if its analysis software calculates incorrectly and consequently makes incorrect recommendations to the customer?

From the series of newsletters of the DHBW (Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University) Heidenheim on the topic “Mediation Law in Practice”:


At this point, lawyer Dr. Johannes Fiala,, lecturer for insurance law at the DHBW Heidenheim, will answer your questions. You can ask questions by sending an email to


In the case of insurance agents and salaried employees, the insurer is liable for incorrect advice – including incorrect calculations.
A typical case is where the insurer, with an incorrect mortality table in the background, provides the customer with an excessively high monthly private pension.
promised. Several judgments have already shown this. If an insurance broker uses software that produces inaccurate results,
he is responsible for it himself “as a fiduciary trustee.”


It is particularly problematic that some providers have their software decorated with “carnival decorations” (certificates, seals, etc.).
These are – in contrast to a genuine and adequately insured attestation of a publicly appointed and sworn expert
for actuarial mathematics or an auditor – are generally worthless. It also becomes problematic for the broker if the
software supplier “goes bankrupt”, and therefore no recourse is possible – or if the software supplier does not operate quality management,
or (which should be the rule) is not insured for damages.
A popular trick is also when an auditor issues an attestation for a certain software version, but just
this version was never delivered to any broker or financial house.
This type of customer deception can, of course, have criminal repercussions later on – but it helps the broker to
this then also no longer much.


by Dr. Johannes Fiala

(DHBW Newsletter 02/2010)

With friendly permission


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Dr. Johannes Fiala Dr. Johannes Fiala

Dr. Johannes Fiala has been working for more than 25 years as a lawyer and attorney with his own law firm in Munich. He is intensively involved in real estate, financial law, tax and insurance law. The numerous stages of his professional career enable him to provide his clients with comprehensive advice and to act as a lawyer in the event of disputes.
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