Life Insurance Contracts
Luxembourg life assurance contracts offer a number of distinct advantages including a unique level of investor protection, flexibility in contract design and asset allocation, fiscal neutrality and confidentiality guaranteed by law. These advantages make the Luxembourg life assurance contract one of the most widely used tools for wealth managment and inheritance planning for sophisticated European – and international – clients.
Unit linked life assurance contracts, a speciality of Luxembourg life assurance companies, enables investors to combine insurance cover with the potential for capital growth, notably by linking the contracts to dedicated investment funds. These instruments are increasingly used in wealth management.
The applicable tax rules, for both subscribers to and beneficiaries of a Luxembourg life assurance contract, are those of their country of residence. Life assurance benefits from favourable tax treatment in most European countries. Luxembourg does not tax the premiums nor the capital gains realised at the time of repurchase or maturity of a contract, nor the capital sum paid out to beneficiaries in the event of death. Luxembourg life assurance contracts are designed to respect the legal and tax requirements of the subscriber’s country of residence.
Luxembourg laws and regulations are designed to ensure that subscribers enjoy a high level of protection. Both life assurance companies and their activities are supervised by the insurance industry regulatory authority, the Commissariat aux Assurances (CAA). A mechanism know as the "triangle of security" together with the "super privilege" make the Luxembourg life assurance contract an excellent wealth protection vehicle.
Unit-Linked Insurance Products
Traditionally, life assurance companies offer guaranteed return products, where premiums are managed in the insurance company’s general fund or in that of the mother company.
In addition, Luxembourg firms offer a wide range of so called “unit linked” products that are based on one of the following:
- External investment funds, managed by experienced asset managers;
- internal collective funds, which operate like undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) and which allow mandated collective management tailored to the different risk profiles of investors;
- internal dedicated funds that permit discretionary, mandated management that takes the subscriber’s personal objectives into account. Several dedicated funds can be grouped within the same life assurance contract.
The possibility of diversifying assets held in a life assurance contract increases in proportion to the amount invested and the type of funds chosen. Hence, the range of potential assets widens from national or international equity, money market and bond funds, through alternative funds and structured products, and goes as far as integrating portfolios of listed and non-listed securities.
The management strategy can be changed at any moment throughout the life of the contract.
With the aim of ensuring maximum security for subscribers to Luxembourg life assurance contracts, the law stipulates that assets matching an insurer’s liabilities must be deposited with a bank approved by the insurance industry regulatory authority, the Commissariat aux Assurances (CAA). Each life assurance company is required to sign a depositary agreement with a custodian bank and have this agreement approved by the CAA.
This mechanism, know as the "triangle of security", ensures that the assets matching the insurer’s liabilities are clearly separated from the company’s other assets and lodged in a separate bank account. Client assets are thus legally separated from those of the insurance company’s shareholders and creditors. Furthermore, the custodian bank itself is required to segregate assets and to protect the interests of subscribers to a life assurance contract.
The law of 6t December 1991, as modified, grants subscribers to a Luxembourg life assurance contract the status of first ranking creditor on all assets in the technical reserves. This privilege, which is known as the "super privilege", takes precedence over all other creditors, whoever they are, granting contract holders priority in the recovery of credit related to the execution of their insurance contracts in the event of the insurance company going bankrupt.