Generali Vision can't charge when cancelling early

57 posts in this topic

Many thanks for your prompt answer, @itsthejb.

 

Mostly, what freaked me out was reading about all the people trying to surrender their plan before maturity, knowingly incurring into significant losses, but having to face all sort of hurdles (no contact person, requested documents always rejected for no reason, ...) and being left out to dry.

I couldn't really find any success story to use as a term of comparison, frankly.

 

Holding the plan a little longer was something I considered too, but whilst no more premiums are due after the policy gets paid-up, fees continue to be deducted from your plan value, which does not sit well with me. In fact, my case is *exactly the same* as yours: "The funds have been growing, but I assume my gains whilst I was buying were pretty eaten up by the fees".

 

When you write "they contacted me this week", do you refer to Generali or to a different company acting as your financial advisor? Because I never had any direct contact with Generali, everything always went through such "advisors" (aka sharks in disguise). They are not DeVere in my case (happy to share more details via PM with anyone who asks). These people acted kind of professionally over a number of years but now all they seem to do is cold-call me to try and sell me 30-year Vision plans. Riiiiight.

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@GordianKnot,

 

Happy to be of help. I mean Generali directly, since the plan was due to mature. I actually dealt with Generali a fair few times, since I didn't pay into the plan at all for about 3/4 years, and had to resume payments.

 

Good point about the fees. Would have to have a think about how that breaks down in terms of fees on gains, and management fee. It's true it would just make life an awful lot easier to cash out and put the capital (which looks like it could have just sat in a savings account) into my current ETF-based savings plan.

 

Also, slightly wondering if it's _ever_ worth doing any investment through a third party. The risk of being bled by sharks seems not worth it. You seem to be better off with a conservative plan and just doing it yourself...

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For the particular attention of @GordianKnot, just looking into the details of fees at https://www.generali-worldwide.com/files/managed/gw_vision_int_bro_eng_1215.pdf:

 

Administration fee

 

Quote

10.1 Where a Premium Payment Term of ten years or more is selected at Plan commencement:

 

Payable up to year 10, 2% per annum of total Regular Premiums due from Plan commencement to the relevant Plan Anniversary. Payable after year 10, 0.3% per annum of total Regular Premiums due from Plan commencement to the relevant Plan Anniversary.

 

So it would seem that admin charges drop considerably after the plan matures. This appears to be the only fee that applies once the plan is matured:

 

Quote

Plan fee (applies to Regular Premiums only) The Plan fee is dependent on the Regular Premium frequency and is deducted from Regular Premiums before the premium is allocated to Sub-Fund Units.

 

Would seem not to apply once you are no longer buying.

 

Quote

Establishment charge (applies to Single Premiums only) An establishment charge is deducted on each Single Premium, annually in arrears by way of cancellation of Accumulation Units on the Plan Anniversary.

 

I assume that, like me, you only made regular payments, so this doesn't apply.

 

Quote

10.2 Investment Administration Charge applicable to Investment Choices

 

Table 9 Name Explanation Charge Investment Administration Charge

 

(Applies to Regular and Single Premiums)

 

An investment administration charge equivalent to 1.5% per annum of the Sub-Fund Units allocated to a Plan, is deducted. 1.5% per annum is deducted annually in arrears from the Accumulation Units allocated to the Plan.

 

I'm a little confused about what this means. There are two admin charges?

 

Quote

10.3 Charges within the Underlying Fund*

 

Bid/ Offer Spread: 0% to 1% (0% to 2%)

 

Annual Management Charge: 0% (0.5% to 3%)

 

Fund overheads and advisory service fees

 

Fund overheads and advisory service fees (Advisory service fees of up to 0.75% per annum) are deducted from Internal Underlying Funds and reflected in the relevant Unit prices.

 

Please refer to the individual External Underlying Fund prospectus.

 

Sorry for formatting. This would appear to be the main one - potential charges on the underlying held funds.

 

So, with regards to @GordianKnot's case and mine, we are looking at the fees for the funds we hold plus 0.3% from Generali. This to my not-particularly-educated eye suggests that holding or cashing in the plan is a bit 50/50 - the admin charge becomes pretty small, but the (managed) funds aren't cheap. This would seem to make a case for cashing in reasonably soon and moving to cheap index funds / ETFs.

 

Any other input would be welcome, thanks!

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On 11/21/2017, 12:35:38, itsthejb said:

Also, slightly wondering if it's _ever_ worth doing any investment through a third party

 

Understandable. By definition, collecting fees for its services is what a third party does but that is not necessarily a reason to write off all third parties in my opinion.

I now have more serious and cheaper plans in place (for both pension savings and medium-term investments), agreed with and managed through my German bank.

Nothing to complain about at all so far.

What is the difference between that and those offshore plans? Regulations and accountability. Offshore centers can get away with questionable selling practices more easily than EU regulated institutions, for example. A very valuable lesson for me!

 

On 11/21/2017, 2:44:38, itsthejb said:

So, with regards to @GordianKnot's case and mine, we are looking at the fees for the funds we hold plus 0.3% from Generali. This to my not-particularly-educated eye suggests that holding or cashing in the plan is a bit 50/50 - the admin charge becomes pretty small, but the (managed) funds aren't cheap. This would seem to make a case for cashing in reasonably soon and moving to cheap index funds / ETFs.

 

Any other input would be welcome, thanks!

 

I agree that after year 10 the plan gets less expensive, but never cheap.

 

Of course I'd also be interested in hearing about other views and experiences!

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Hi @GordianKnot,

 

So the plan has now matured, and the bonus has (I think) been paid. I say "I think", because my plan took a fairly decent dip on the valuation date (fees?), rather than the peak up I was hoping for as a result of the bonus, supposedly ¥127,000. It's possible that this hasn't hit the plan yet, but since my surrender value is now ¥40k higher than the plan value, it certainly seems possible that "somehow" 70% of the bonus got "swallowed". Sigh. I'm chasing them on this, fingers crossed it's just slow.

 

So, it seems likely I will move to surrender reasonably soon, since there are better, cheaper things I could be doing with the lump sum rather than letting it sit there. Lots of paperwork to fill out there, including plenty of notarisation. Also the original plan schedule, which I don't have - although this seems to be fine, just another piece of paperwork.

 

Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

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Hi @itsthejb

 

great to hear that you made it to policy maturation!

It's very much possible that the fees (which are indeed charged on the valuation day date) counterpoise the loyalty bonus.

But I'm a bit baffled that you can't break that down: shouldn't you have account with Generali International where you can track your plan activity? See below:

 

vp.png.bb1dfc60d5ceb9e99cd7789587781f9d.

 

Under "plan activity" every step should be logged (fees, bonus, premium payments, ...).

 

 

Question about:

 

On 5/12/2017, 16:20:50, itsthejb said:

Also the original plan schedule, which I don't have - although this seems to be fine, just another piece of paperwork.

 

How do you proceed if they require the original documentation that you no longer have? Not sure what you mean by "just another piece of paperwork".

 

Thanks a lot as usual!

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Hi @GordianKnot,

 

With regards to the loyalty bonus, yes I have access to the online servicing. The problem is that when the plan matured there are entries (two in fact) for the loyalty bonus in plan activity. However, I don't see any evidence of this increasing my plan value particularly. As I said, in fact the plan took a decent dent on the valuation date. I had somewhat assumed that the amount would hit my plan more or less like a deposit of the amount. This hasn't happened. Unfortunately, it's likely not an error, and just has been consumed by fees at the end of the term. This hasn't happened on previous valuation dates, so I can only assume that this is a special case at the end of the term when you get whacked with a bunch of fees. Sigh.

 

Also, regarding "Plan Activity" online servicing, as far as I can see it's not possible to inspect the actual amounts that apply to each entry. It's a list, but the entries aren't clickable. Is this different for you?

 

With regards to the original plan schedule, there is a form for "lost" schedule, which requires a witness. It would seem that I also need to get notarised copies of my passport and Anmeldungsbestätigung, and possibly this document as well, although it seems from the form that any non-relative witness should suffice. Provided that notarisation doesn't cost too much, I may get them to do this also. I previously went through this process a couple of years ago when I started paying in again. That time the finance officer at my company certified the documents. Unfortunately this time around my current company isn't willing to do the certification, so I need to go elsewhere. Hoping to only pay a fee of about €25 per document, fingers crossed.

 

Overall, proving to be a bit of a pain to get my money now, but I'll get there eventually. All the more reason to favour the independent investment strategy I'll be taking in the future!

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Hi @itsthejb,

 

the online servicing tool is exactly the same as yours - just a list with name filtering but zero numerical information (no amount, no percentage, nothing). It just adds to the total lack of transparency.

I just thought that, in your case, no loyalty bonus-related entry had shown up, so you were trying to quantify it just by looking at the current policy value, but now I understand, so thanks for clearing that up.

 

They are indeed very creative when it comes to adding new, never-seen-before fees as I found out once more 2 days ago... Seems like they're hell-bent on eating into any gain the client's policy may have.

 

And thanks a million for sharing your experiences so far. This whole thing is so opaque and dodgy (not to say secretive) that it is important to talk about it and know what lies ahead. Especially in the case of maturing/matured policies, which is probably quite a rare scenario given that most people seem to incur into some early surrender nightmare first.

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Hi @GordianKnot,

 

I think the very best you can take from these experiences as the lesson learnt, inevitably the "hard" way - and it must almost always be, sadly. I've fallen foul up to this point of having the right attitude, but a lack of willingness to plunge into the details. So, you defer to a third party who doesn't have your best interests at heart. Hopefully the positive now is that I will handle this all myself in future. I may not be a financial master, but at least I can remove the element of mistrust. And better to have learnt this now.

 

I'm seeing a notary next week. It's not expensive, about €15 a document. So looks like I should be cashed out in the new year, and putting the money to some good use, finally...

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Thank you @GordianKnot and @itsthejb for sharing your experience. I have the same situation and will surrender after the loyalty bonus payment this year. I will keep in mind that the bonus will likely be offset by yet more unjustified fees, frustrating though it is, I'm feeling resigned to the disappointment by now. 

 

To others in this situation, fyi I have been through the Generali and Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman complaints and appeal processes. Not successful, however the rejection of the complaint was based on us setting up the plan prior to 2013 rather than the complaint not being justified. Therefore this option might be worth pursuing for more recent victims. Happy to provide more info if it helps someone.

 

This is the statement on the GFSC website https://www.gfsc.gg/consumers/complaints/ombudsman

  • Complaints will only be considered for acts or omissions which occurred on or after 2 July 2013 if the financial services provider was in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. If the act giving rise to your complaint occurred before this date, the Ombudsman will be unable to help you.
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Hi @exchinapat,

 

Last week my policy was held to maturity.

The loyalty bonus was then credited to my plan but also MORE than offset by the final fees, as you already pointed out.

 

Some time ago I wrote the law firm (https://www.mattil.de/de) recommended by @Starshollow, at least to know what options I would have - if it all - but they didn't even bother to reply. Lo and behold, I just requested to start the full surrender procedure and am currently waiting to hear back.

I would be interested in knowing more about the complaints and appeal process you went through, perhaps we could get in touch via private message or email?

 

 

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hello

am retriggering this discussion. I live in Luxembourg. I signed off with Generali back in 2007. Was young, wrongly advised and signed off without actually being aware of my engagements!  I would like to stop this and get my money back. Obviously the surrender value as of today is far below the total invested so in order to lose the least possible, I have now stopped paying the monthly premium and wanted to let it go until contract ends (which is in 2029 !!!) but they sent me now an arrears letter to say that I should resume my payments as they will continue to charge my plan, etc... so I'd be happy to hear about any solution, happy ending, any advice ? or should I just accept the fact that I am going to lose part of my savings ...

thanks a lot for your help and advice

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not sure if these dates are correct? Did you start in 2007 or in 2017 ?
If you did start in 2007, there is no reason or need to continue paying into the plan, nor can they charge you for your plan any further...unless in the last 2 years or so you agreed to an increase in the monthly contributions?

 

Be that as it may: if you have a chance to recuperate the lost money will mostly depend on two things in my experience from dealing with a large number of "victims":

1) that you can prove that the sales to you violated local consumer protection laws (i.e. that the plan was ill-advised to be sold to you, the salesperson was not disclosing all relevant information as required by local laws and regulations and that the plan was not even allowed/licensed to be offered and sold to you in your country of residence for lack of registration/licensing of the plan under local laws and regulations)

2) your personal persistence and how far and long you are prepared to go in order to get your money back.

 

Usually, your chances are best if the sales-organization that was responsible for selling you this was/is still active in your country of residence. Because they will not like this to become public or them getting audited by the local regulatory authorities. But you have to take a stand and keep willing to threaten them with exposure, legal steps and particularly convince them, that you take this to the end with a lot of publicity involved thru Social Media. Some folks I know who live in Africa even started their own website (off-line since their settlement) in order to expose the illegalities of the sales-company etc and that, after some time and a lot of threatening legal letters and all, convinced the company to settle with them in full. But the WILL try to brush you off, scare you off and a lot of things more...you have to be prepared for that. 

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Hi @Luxi,

 

My experience was with a 10 year plan (2008-2018) that I held to maturity without ever skipping payments.

I cashed my money back in - still at a loss, but nothing tragic, especially compared to other cases where people stopped payments altogether.

 

These are my personal key takeaways:

 

1)  Most important: is the broker/financial advisor company still charging your plan for "service" fees? Get in touch with Generali (now Utmost Financial Solutions, I suppose) as soon as possible - at least they were quite responsive in my case - and request to opt out of the advisor services. Generali should just require you to sign, scan & email them a signed declaration where you state that you want the broker to effectively be removed from all activities and communications. Had I done that earlier, I wouldn't have wasted lots of money for nothing.

From there you can manage your own plan, their online servicing tool isn't that bad anymore; sounds scary at first but see it as a good opportunity to learn about finance, trading & investing. It's not worth to pay an intermediary to do so; remember they don't have access to much more info than you do - they just have more time.

 

2) Not interrupting the payments strongly limited my losses. Could you ever consider doing the same? As Starshollow asked, is yours a 12 or 22 year plan? Fees get lower after year 10 so this is important to know.

 

3) Are you enjoying any allocation bonus (101 to 104% of your premium)? If not, it's going to be a lot harder to protect your capital.

 

4) Share your story on social media; boycott Generali/Utmost and the sales company via Google reviews in as many locations as possible.


All this depends on how much you invested, how far into the plan and how much in arrears you really are.
I agree with Starshollow that the right thing to do would be to fight them but, as he said, are you ready to do that.

Anything else, just ask!

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I signed in 2007, 12 years ago and this is a 22 year plan :-( it will be finished in 2029!

thanks for your advice but I doubt being able to manage this portfolio on my own and I refuse to invest any more in this even the lowest amount allowed which is EUR 150 a month. I used to invest EUR 500 !

am desperate to lose so much money...

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On 26.6.2019, 13:29:59, Luxi said:

I signed in 2007, 12 years ago and this is a 22 year plan :-( it will be finished in 2029!

thanks for your advice but I doubt being able to manage this portfolio on my own and I refuse to invest any more in this even the lowest amount allowed which is EUR 150 a month. I used to invest EUR 500 !

am desperate to lose so much money...

with a 22-year plan, all your contributions from the first 23 months went entirely into fees, mostly for the commissions paid out to the sales-people (I utterly reject to call them "financial advisors" because in most cases they are totally lacking even the most rudimentary professional qualification, not to mention the total lack of professional ethics).

5d15c37e017df_GeneraliVisioncutoutInitia

 

So you basically - if you look at the total planned duration - you'll start with a minus of around 10% that you'll have to recuperate before you'll start to make any profit or yield with this plan. Since in my experience the sales-people then get back to the clients every couple of months with the recommendation to shift (sell and buy a-new) their investment funds or simply recommend overly expensive actively managed fund and very high-priced (and risky) derivatives like autocallable notes, it will be hard to make any profit anyway. This is why so many "clients" find out after some years, that despite growing stock markets etc their investment/pension plan has not even broken even yet.

 

IMO - unless you'll get in writing the exact amount of bonus-payments you can expect if you stay in the plan - it is better to cut your losses and get out of these money-traps and get yourself a decent and really qualified advisor to set you up either with a REAL pension plan or, if such a pension plan is actually not in your best interest, a simple investment portfolio based on passive investment funds like ETFs or funds from Dimensional (which are also passive investment funds, but with a bit of a science-based twist, but still significantly lower in costs than those expensive actively-managed investment funds).

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Well written, Starshollow! It is diabolical.

Reminds me of what millions upon millions of otherwise intelligent Germans have: Kapitallebensversicherung. Also a disgrace.

I am a professional independent insurance broker and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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