On 28 August 2019, the Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank, DNB) published a final Q&A which provides clarification on whether subscriptions (abonnementen) offered to consumers may be considered as a non-life insurance (schadeverzekering) product

DNB indicates that subscriptions exist in various sectors in multiple variations and that the specific content and context of the subscription is decisive in determining whether it could qualify as a non-life insurance product. The Q&A discusses the two most common types of subscriptions: subscriptions for maintenance and repairs of products and subscriptions for legal services.

Maintenance and repair of products

According to DNB, this type of subscription generally does not qualify as non-life insurance if it exclusively relates to periodical servicing of a purchased product, as there is a limited degree of uncertainty in relation to the performance under the contract. Also, this type of subscription in general also does not qualify as insurance contract if the following three conditions are met:

  1. the subscription forms an subordinate part of the purchase agreement (i.e. it has no independent meaning and is as a result ‘absorbed’ by the purchase agreement);
  2. the subscription relates exclusively to the reparation of shortcomings in relation to the nature of the product (and not to external factors); and
  3. the subscription does not cover a period that is evidently longer than the reasonably expected lifetime of the product.

Legal services

A subscription for legal services in general does qualify as a non-life insurance product, except if the subscription relates to so-called ‘first-line legal services’, which entails very limited legal advice such as answering simple legal question or offering formats.

View DNB’s press release (Dutch only), 28 August 2019

View the Q&A (Dutch only), 28 August 2019.