In Austria, a trade licence for insurance mediation is being needed to work as an insurance intermediary. Pursuant to the Trade Act 1994, § 137a (1), anybody who performs the activity of insurance mediation is considered an insurance intermediary.
The following trade licences may be used for this purpose:
- Trade Act 1994, § 94 (75), investment counselling covering life and accident insurance,
- Trade Act 1994, § 94 (76), insurance mediation (insurance agents, insurance brokers, insurance advisors), or
- Trade Act 1994, § 94 (76) in conjunction with § 32 (6), secondary business activities of insurance mediation.
Every insurance intermediary has to meet the following obligations:
- registration in the register of insurance intermediaries
- professional liability cover
- competence, good repute, no bankruptcy proceedings (also for employees)
- information requirements
- protection of customers’ monies
Only insurance mediation activities on a very small scale, such as baggage insurance upon the booking of a trip, are exempt from the above-mentioned obligations.
Insurance brokers are defined by the Brokers Act, Federal Law Gazette 262/1996. According to art 1 of that law a broker is one who is intermediating business with a third person for a client on base of a private law contract without being permanently charged. Insurance Agents are defined by the Act on Insurance Treaties, Fed. Law Gazette 2/1959 in contrast as permanentely charged persons by an insurance company to intermediate business.
It can be said:
- The insurance agent is the representative of the insurance company.
- The insurance broker is the representative of the customer.
Register of insurance intermediaries
As per EU Directive 2002/92/EC, there is set up a register listing all the persons authorised to work as insurance intermediaries. See register of insurance intermediaries. In the register mainly the following data is being displayed:
- Name and seat of business
- insurance company represented by the intermediary if an insurance agent
- countries in which intermediary is passporting
- name of the company providing professional indemnity insurance
- categories of products being sold by intermediary if agent
- permission or not to receive customers money in the name of insurance company
- if legal proceedings for revocation of the permission are pending
Insurance intermediaries from abroad in the EC must be priorily notified by home member state authority to the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs (Art 6 IMD). In the case of establishment there is a registration necessary; as an evidence for the fulfillment of the qualification requirements the registration in the home member state has to be proven.