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Abschnitt 2 BGI/GUV-I 506 E, II. Companies and insured perso...
Abschnitt 2 BGI/GUV-I 506 E
In good hands. Your Statutory Accident Insurance Functions, services and organization (BGI/GUV-I 506 E)
Titel: In good hands. Your Statutory Accident Insurance Functions, services and organization (BGI/GUV-I 506 E)
Normgeber: Bund
Amtliche Abkürzung: BGI/GUV-I 506 E
Gliederungs-Nr.: [keine Angabe]
Normtyp: Satzung

Abschnitt 2 BGI/GUV-I 506 E – II. Companies and insured persons - those we care for.
Facts and figures

Impressive statistics: the German statutory accident insurance system is responsible for around 5.2 million companies and institutions. This figure includes 3 million companies in the commercial sector, 1.6 million companies in the agricultural sector, and around 590,000 institutions in the public sector (including 120,000 educational establishments). Over 70 million people are insured, including around 17.4 million children in schools, nursery schools and after-school care centres, and students in higher education.

This therefore presents the employees of the statutory accident insurance institutions with a tremendous task. Given the huge number of parties involved and their great diversity, it is only natural that criticism is sometimes voiced. "Unnecessary", "expensive" and "interfering" are the criticisms occasionally heard from employers. Conversely, "what do I get out of it?" is the question sometimes heard from insured individuals. It is notable, however, that anyone who has ever had need of the statutory accident insurance system has nothing but praise for it - and is happy that it exists. Because it is there to help: swiftly and comprehensively. Not just with medical treatment and rehabilitation, but also with advice and practical help with the process following an accident - for example the return to work.

Ekkehard Band, district mayor of Tempelhof-Schöneberg:

"Voluntary work is an indispensable element in social co-operation. It deserves not only recognition and respect, but also the best possible support in the form of reliable accident insurance."

The group of people covered by the statutory accident insurance system is extensive. It begins with all employees, irrespective of their age, sex, income, and whether they are employed on a permanent or temporary basis: by law, all are insured against the consequences of an occupational accident or disease. Further groups of people are also covered, such as home workers, and also volunteers working in the health and welfare services, relief organizations, for the national, regional and local authorities, and for bodies incorporated under public law. Children in schools, nursery schools and afterschool care centres, and students at vocational colleges or receiving education and training at institutes of higher education, trainees pursuing vocational education and training, development aid workers, individuals following a course of rehabilitation with a social accident insurer, and providers of first aid, for example at the scene of a traffic accident, are also insured.

In contrast to their counterparts in the agricultural sector, entrepreneurs in the industrial sector, their spouses employed within their businesses, and self-employed persons regularly acting as entrepreneurs within incorporated companies or partnerships not generally subject to mandatory social insurance. These groups can however be included within the scope of the insurance by the charter of the statutory accident insurance institutions, or may opt voluntarily for insurance. The entrepreneurial persons described above may obtain insurance only voluntarily. A spouse of an entrepreneur who has a contract of employment with the latter is statutorily insured.

Insured persons... who are the responsibility of the statutory accident insurance institutions for the industrial sector:

  • Contractual employees, trainees or apprentices in the industrial sector

  • Persons employed abroad temporarily

  • Persons working or conducting a business from home, teleworkers

  • Persons undergoing rehabilitation (for example as hospital in-patients)

Entrepreneurs and members of the liberal professions may also take out voluntary insurance with a statutory accident insurance institution. In some sectors, they are obliged to do so by law or charter.

Insured persons... who are the responsibility of the statutory accident insurance institutions in the agricultural sector:

  • Agricultural workers (whether self-employed, employees, or working in the family business)

Insured persons... who are the responsibility of the public-sector accident insurers:

  • Public-sector employees

  • Employees in the railway, postal and telecommunications sectors

  • Children in nursery schools and after-school care centres

  • Schoolchildren and students

  • Home carers

  • Domestic helps

  • Persons providing assistance in a disaster or emergency

  • Blood and organ donors

  • Voluntary helpers in institutions which provide assistance at disasters or accidents

    (such as the voluntary fire services, German Red Cross, etc.)

  • Persons working in a voluntary capacity for the German state, a regional or local authority, or another institution incorporated under public law

  • Witnesses

  • Persons assisting in construction activity of a non-commercial nature

  • Unemployed persons and persons receiving social security

    (during completion of their reporting duties)

  • Prison convicts performing work

  • Development aid workers

Note: insurance cover applies even should the employer not yet have registered the company with the statutory accident insurance institution or have paid any contributions to it. This is in the interests of the employee's protection. The statutory accident insurance institutions then levy the premiums retroactively, and also fines if applicable. Should illicit work be proved, the accident insurer can also seek regress against the employer in the event of an accident, i.e. demand that he repay the costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation.


Insurance for domestic helps

It is often forgotten that employment in a private household constitutes a regular contract of employment, to which the usual rules apply. All persons employed in private households are therefore insured against accidents in accordance with the German Social Code (SGB VII). Domestic helps include cleaners, babysitters, kitchen helps, casual gardeners, and carers of children and adults. Employees pay no premiums for statutory accident insurance; the cost is met by the employer - i.e. the person running the household.

Depending upon their monthly remuneration, domestic helps must be registered either with the responsible accident insurance institution or with the Minijob Centre. Registration is obligatory, even if private insurance has already been taken out.

Should the monthly remuneration exceed € 400, or registration with the Minijob Centre no longer be possible because the individual has several minor jobs with a total remuneration of over € 400, the domestic help must be registered with the relevant accident insurance institution. Should the domestic help earn € 400 or less (mini-job), registration and deregistration are solely the responsibility of the Federal Miners' Insurance Institution. Additional registration with the public-sector accident insurer is not required.

Federal Miners' Insurance Institution/Minijob-Centre on the Internet


The main statistics at a glance

Figures for the statutory accident insurance institutions in the industrial sector200420052006
Member companies3,118,6933,167,4473,003,122
Equivalent full employees30,208,19429,445,33230,202,851
Insured persons42,659,64142,532,19644,323,221
Insurance relationships55,417,45155,283,67158,178,055
Figures of the public-sector accident insurers200420052006
Member companies/institutions493,361534,697592,140
Equivalent full employees4,777,1454,969,8554,997,706
Insured persons28,357,41528,919,76928,591,425
Insurance relationships35,153,36335,784,30635,300,537

Advice and practical assistance for companies

Legally, each and every company is assigned to its responsible accident insurance institution. The statutory accident insurance system absolves employers of their liability under civil law to their employees for occupational accidents and diseases. It indemnifies them against claims for damages which could threaten their livelihoods, as often happens in other countries. Companies in the industrial sector are insured by the statutory accident insurance institution for the sector concerned; business operated by the German federal, regional and local authorities and private businesses in which the state owns a majority stake are insured by the public-sector accident insurers. The public-sector accident insurers are structured at national, regional or local level, or are responsible for certain sectors of the economy (such as the railways, the postal and telecommunications sector or the fire services). Conversely, the statutory accident insurance institutions in the industrial sector are each responsible for a particular area of industry.

The statutory accident insurance institutions advise, inspect, co-ordinate and provide information in the area of safety and health at work. The experts at the institutions are available to companies to answer their questions and to assist them with specific problems. (For more detailed information on the subject of preventive activity, see Chapter V.)

Amelie Wipprecht, swimming-bath operator, Central Berlin public swimming baths: "Swimming-bath personnel must be good all-rounders. The training provided by our public-sector accident insurer supports me in this function."

From consultation, through research, to statistics - the experts at the statutory accident insurance institutions employ a diverse range of instruments to fulfil their tasks of prevention, rehabilitation and compensation.

Institutes, academies, clinics: the statutory accident insurance system maintains a wide variety of institutions, and also works hand in hand with other organizations and bodies. Throughout the process, the autonomous administration ensures that all activities are conducted in the interests of the insured individuals and of the businesses and companies, in line with the objectives and the needs on the ground. Ultimately, the companies, which pay the premiums and are responsible for implementing preventive measures, are the pillars of the entire accident insurance system.