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The insured's main contractual duty is the payment of the premium. Non-payment or late payment may have serious consequences, but only if the insurer meticulously adheres to the pertinent procedure. A relatively recent Federal Supreme Court ruling concludes a series of four decisions on non-payment of premiums which, due to a lack of care on the part of the insurer, have all been rendered in favour of the insured.
Insurance premium payments are subject to 5% stamp duty. There are a number of exemptions, including credit insurance, provided that the debtor of the insured claim is domiciled abroad. In its longstanding practice, the Federal Tax Administration has granted the exemption only to the extent that the risk insured is the foreign debtor's insolvency for economic reasons. The Supreme Court has now ended this practice.
The Supreme Court has passed judgment on an insurance claim which raised issues of a plaintiff's right to privacy versus the insurer's right to carry out surveillance. The Civil Code declares any violation of personality rights illegal unless it is justified by the victim's consent, by an overriding private or public interest or by law. In this case the court concluded that the surveillance was warranted and the violation was justified.
Non-disclosure or misrepresentation is regulated by Articles 4 to 8 of the Federal Law on Insurance Contracts. Articles 6 and 8 were revised in December 2004 and entered into effect in their new form in January 2006. Two Federal Supreme Court rulings in which the court dealt with issues that relate to both the previous and current versions of the law have recently been published.