Categories of intermediary
There are four categories of insurance intermediary in Austria and these are as follows:
a) Insurance broker and consultant in insurance matters (Versicherungsmakler und Berater in Versicherungsangelegenheiten): This is a natural or legal person that mediates insurance contracts as the representative of the insured. The broker acts for both parties of the insurance contract but has to predominantly safeguard the interests of the customer. A broker cannot be a coverholder unless it has registered as a broker and as an insurance agent simultaneously.
b) Insurance agent (Versicherungsagent): This is a natural or legal person that is permanently entrusted by an insurer to mediate or conclude insurance contracts for that insurer. An insurance agent can be a coverholder.
c) Commercial financial adviser (Gewerblicher Vermögensberater): A commercial financial adviser may be permitted to carry on insurance mediation as one of its business activities. It can perform broker and/or agent functions within its business, but in respect of a particular risk placement transaction it must only act as either a broker or an agent not both. A commercial financial adviser can be a coverholder if it has registered to carry on insurance agent activities.
d) Ancillary intermediary: A trader who has a business can be permitted to carry on insurance mediation as an ancillary activity to its main business if there is a close connection between the two. The trader can perform broker and/or agent functions within its business, but in respect of a particular risk placement transaction it must only act as either a broker or an agent not both. An ancillary intermediary can be a coverholder if it has registered to carry on insurance agent activities.
Authorisation and registration
Insurance intermediaries in Austria must be authorised and regulated by their local district administrative authority and they must be registered on the electronic national register of insurance intermediaries, which is on the Austrian Trade Information System (GISA). The local district authority is responsible for registering the intermediary.
If an intermediary wishes to carry on insurance agent activities, the local district authority must register all of the intermediary’s contractual agency relationships with insurers, including the relevant classes of business, on the GISA register. (This does not include TOBAs). Changes to such relationships must also be notified to the local district authority. Coverholders must contact the Lloyd's General Representative for Austria in order to register their binding authority agreements with the relevant local district authority. Coverholders must not contact the authority themselves.
All insurance intermediaries must have professional indemnity insurance.
Disclosure of role
All intermediaries must disclose which category of intermediary they are registered in on the header or footer of their business correspondence. If the intermediary carries on insurance agent activities, the correspondence must state each contractual agency relationship with an insurer. Furthermore, all intermediaries must disclose to their customer the nature of their role in respect of the intended risk placement.
Intermediaries that have passported into Austria from another EEA member state must adhere to the general good conditions for insurance intermediaries in Austria.