In order to give savers more choice, the law authorizes them to transfer their life insurance contract to another, provided they remain with the same insurer. But nothing obliges the companies, which sometimes take their ease with the law.
What a bargain! Since the adoption of the Pacte law in 2019, policyholders have the possibility of transferring their life insurance to a new contract without losing tax precedence, the famous 8-year period offers a reduction of 4,600 euros on withdrawals and a reduced tax rate on earnings (7.5% excluding social security contributions, compared to 12.8% before maturity).
In concrete terms, customers can switch from a product that has fallen into disuse, or that only offers a fund in euros (support with guaranteed capital), to another brand new one on two conditions. First, that it contains units of account (supports without capital guarantee and invested in the markets). Second, that it is insured by the same company.
It’s not necessarily a good deal when the terms of the first contract are particularly advantageous, especially if it offers a guaranteed rate of pay – a remnant of the olden days. But it is undoubtedly a good operation for anyone wishing to diversify their savings or access certain specific units of account. Especially since nothing theoretically prevents moving from a recent contract and still marketed to another.
Boursorama and Generali wonder
However, the testimonials of policyholders tempted by the experience can sometimes be disconcerting. “We inform you that the Pacte law exists to facilitate life insurance transfers, but we do not take it into account”would have received a person who wished to make a transfer from Nalo to Boursorama Banque. Since the contracts of these two intermediaries were insured by Generali, the operation seemed in principle possible without entailing the loss of tax precedence.
“To say that we do not respect the Pacte law is false”comment toInvest Xavier Prin, Marketing Director at Boursorama. He deplores the tone of the bank in this message which has been circulating for several weeks on LinkedIn (he does not confirm its authenticity, although this word has prompted a clarification from the teams): “Natively, Boursorama would be favorable to the fluidification of transfers within the same insurer. » Online banking tends to attract new customers. “I would not be the main loser of the movement”he quips. In his view, portability is, however, a “insurer option” which therefore requires “consent”.
Generali, the company in this story, responds that the problem concerns the transition from an individual contract (Nalo) to a collective (Boursorama): “The reading we have of the law is that there is a change of subscriber, indicates Corentin Favennec, Director of Partnerships. So the tax authorities could requalify the transfer as a redemption and a re-subscription. » The risk would then be the loss of tax precedence. He claims to have submitted the question to Bercy, in September 2020, but still remains without news. Corentin Favennec denies not applying the Pacte law: “In 2021, we transferred more than 1,000 contracts for more than 200 million euros in outstandings […] When it comes to a transfer within the same distributor, we follow up without worry. » The transition from one intermediary to another nevertheless depends on the goodwill of each professional.
Suravenir reluctant to change distributor
The problem also arose on the side of the insurer Suravenir. A reader, Florent Fillinger, told us about a file still blocked for a transfer from Fortuneo to Linxea. The desired distributor responds: “We are awaiting information from Suravenir […]to date we are not yet able to offer you the transfer. » The insurance mediator was contacted several months ago, but has not yet responded. It is for Florent Fillinger also a passage from a collective contract to an individual, it is however not an obstacle invoked in his exchanges. Another intermediary told us about the impossibility of transfer between distributors on individual company contracts.
Asked about the subject by InvestFrançois-Régis Bernicot, CEO of Suravenir, gives a surprising justification: “The constraint we have is to respect the goodwill of our partners. Transfers are allowed when they occur within the same distributor. » Thomas Guyot, Chairman of the Management Board confirms: “We don’t want to encourage competition between our distributors. »
However, “it has long been possible to make a broker transfer [avec le] same contractsays Xavier Prin, from Boursorama (who works with Generali). In addition, it was already allowed to change life insurance before the pact law as long as the customer went from a mono-support (only with a fund in euros) to a multi-support (with units of account), this called it a “Fourgous transfer”. In short, it is to no longer know which saint to devote oneself to.
What the law says
The law is not loquacious on the subject. It stipulates as a simple modality that “this conversion is carried out either by amendment to the voucher or contract, or by the subscription of a new voucher or contract with the same insurance company” (art. 125-0 A of the CGI*). On the margin of freedom of the insured or the insurer, nothing is said.
The communication from the Ministry of Economy and Finance replies that “This transfer, however, requires the agreement of both parties to the contract, the insurer and the insured”. And to clarify “that no implementing decree is planned or necessary” to complete the operation.
The France Assureurs federation signed a market commitment in July in order to streamline movements. She states in this document that she will ” further away [que la loi Pacte] via a mechanism for the automatic acceptance of transfer requests when it is in particular the same distributor.. A few lines in particular draw our attention: “It is reminded that each customer is free to choose his distributor. Consequently, the change of intermediary does not constitute an assessment criterion for the acceptance or refusal of the request. » Suravenir, by holding on to respect the goodwill of [ses] partners » would therefore be in contradiction with this commitment.
The federation does not wish to comment on specific cases and insists on the “duty to advise” professionals : “They must check that the transfer still meets the investor profile and the investment project of the insuredsays Franck Le Vallois, Managing Director of France Insurers. The duty to advise is not only at the subscription, it is the whole life of the contract. » However, it seems legitimate to wonder about the relevance of the advice in the refusal of a transfer between two similar contracts.
Franck Le Vallois considers that these blocked files are exceptions: “The figures are stubborn, we cannot say that insurers are not playing the game: 423,000 transfers were carried out under the Pacte law in 2021.” Since 2020 (first full year of application of the Pacte law), 659,000 contracts have been affected, for a total number of life insurance companies in France of 53 million (end of 2021, according to France insurers).
Still a few stumbling blocks
Thus, the marketplace agreement should certainly facilitate the operation, but some stumbling blocks remain, including the transition from a collective contract to an individual (or vice versa) and the change of distributor. Franck Le Vallois believes that there has been “sometimes a misunderstanding”because, as Corentin Favennec also says of Generali “the spirit of the law is to be able to modernize your contract”. According to them, the transfer should only concern savers wishing to leave a product which is no longer marketed.
“The law is there to create a little competition”judge on the contrary our reader Florent Fillinger, who happens to be a former adviser in wealth management and in charge of compliance in a large bank. The initial amendment to the Pacte law which opened up the possibility of transfer, as it had been adopted by the Senate before being moderated, planned to authorize even the change of insurer, and the measure was intended for “dissatisfied savers [….] of their current establishment..