Under the Belgian insurance law of 4 April 2014, non-life insurance contracts cannot be concluded for a term exceeding one year. They can be (and are usually) tacitly renewed year after year except if one of the parties (i.e. the policyholder or the insurance undertaking) opposes to such renewal at least three months prior to the end of the insurance contract. A policyholder willing to oppose to such renewal must deliver a notice by registered mail, via a bailiff or by getting an acknowledgement of receipt from the insurance undertaking.
To simplify the process and allow policyholders to more easily oppose to such automatic renewal, the Belgian federal parliament has analysed the possibility to soften these formalities in a draft law submitted last summer (Projet de loi simplifiant les règles de résiliation des contrats d'assurance / Wetsontwerp tot vereenvoudiging van de opzeggingsregels voor verzekeringsovereenkomsten (ref. 55K0194)).
The Belgian federal parliament approved this law on 5 October 2023. The law amends the Belgian insurance law of 4 April 2014 and now provides that policyholders can oppose to a tacit renewal of renewable non-life insurance contracts that are concluded for a one-year term and cover consumers up to two months before the end of the insurance contract. Under the new regime, the opposition can be sent electronically. Insurance undertakings remain subject to a three-month opposition period.
The law will now shortly be published in the Belgian State Gazette. It will enter into force on the first day of the 12th month following its publication and will apply to relevant insurance contracts concluded after the date of its entry into force.
Authored by Philip Van Steenwinkel and Charles-Henri Bernard.