Scandal-hit insurer overcharged retirement savers

Already grappling with a now notorious sex-party scandal, the Hamburg-Mannheimer subsidiary of German insurance company Ergo reportedly overcharged 70,000 customers some €160 million (€234 million) for state-subsidized pension saving schemes.

Scandal-hit insurer overcharged retirement savers
Photo: DPA

This time the controversy revolves around so-called Riester-Rente accounts, pension schemes in which participants receive tax breaks and subsidies from the government for saving for their retirements.

According to the business daily Handelsblatt, at least 70,000 customers who signed up in 2005 and 2006 for Hamburg-Mannheimer’s Kaiser-Rente programme – which were part of the company’s Riester-Rente offerings – were charged markedly higher administrative fees than outlined in contracts.

The company may have wrongly raked in millions due to the widespread overcharging, the newspaper reported.

A former company representative told Handelsblatt that “the administrative costs differed by four percentage points from the costs that the customer had been shown in the applications.”

That means an average customer earned €2,300 less than would have been expected from the pension schemes, the former employee told the newspaper.

Ergo spokeswoman Alexandra Klemme said any overcharging were isolated cases that had been caused by tariff changes around 2004 and 2005. “The costs have been adjusted to the actual requirements,” she said.

The Local/mdm

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.