What is group insurance?
A group insurance is an insurance contract that the employer or the sector takes out with an insurer such as Vivium or with a pension fund for (some of) its personnel.
Its purpose is to supplement the available statutory provisions under the Belgian social security system.
A group insurance policy can include several types of cover:
- a supplementary retirement pension (on top of your statutory pension);
- a death benefit in the event that you die before your retirement;
- a supplementary benefit in the event of incapacity to work;
- a supplementary benefit in the event of an accident;
- premium waiver cover that ensures that the insured benefits continue to be accrued during a period of incapacity to work.
These types of cover are not a statutory obligation; they are part of your fringe benefits as an employee.
The pension rules lay down all the conditions for the benefits in the event of retirement and death. You can request the pension rules from your employer or read them on www.mypension.be.
How does group insurance work?
If you are in the employee category for whom your employer has taken out group insurance, your employer will include you.
As long as you are employed and you remain in the insured employee category, the employer will pay an amount into your group insurance each month, quarter or year. The employer will pay the premiums for cover in the event of death, incapacity to work or an accident and the premium waiver. It will also pay a premium for your supplementary pension.
The premiums paid for your supplementary pension yield interest and may benefit from additional profit sharing.
Do I have to contribute to my group insurance?
You may have to pay an amount yourself in order to build your supplementary pension. If there is a personal contribution, this is included in the pension rules. You can request the pension rules from your employer or read them on www.mypension.be. Your payslip also shows any payments that are required from you.
This personal contribution is usually expressed as a percentage of your salary, but may also appear as a fixed amount or as a combination of both a percentage and a fixed amount.
The personal contributions you pay yourself give you a tax benefit of 30% of the personal contributions. You receive this benefit as a reduction in your advance tax payment. This also means that you pay less municipal tax when you settle your personal income tax.
Am I obliged to join the group insurance policy?
If you join a company that provides group insurance to the personnel category you belong to, you will automatically be included in the group insurance. You therefore do not have a choice.
This is also the case if you have to pay a personal contribution.
The savings balance of your supplementary pension that you and your employer are building up will always be your property. This is the case if your employer dismisses you and if you decide to resign.
However, you can refuse to participate in a new group insurance policy during your employment if this new group insurance is not introduced with a collective labour agreement. In that case, you need to sign a statement of renunciation. Do bear in mind that this means you will waive all the benefits of this new group insurance. For example, you can't waive your personal contribution and retain the employer's benefit. You will waive all the premiums. Your choice is also irrevocable. You can't change your mind later.
You also have the option not to join if the personal contribution for the existing group insurance is increased, unless this increase is introduced with a collective labour agreement. In that case, you also need to sign a statement of renunciation and your decision will be final. This will oblige your employer to continue the original group insurance policy for you.
Finally, you also can refuse to join a new or modified group insurance if its aim is to eliminate any differences between blue-collar and white-collar workers, unless a collective labour agreement obliges you to join. This possibility only exists if you joined a group insurance policy that was introduced before 1 January 2015. If you refuse, you must sign a specific statement of renunciation and your employer is obliged to continue the original group insurance policy. Contrary to the first two situations, you can reconsider your choice not to participate in certain specific cases.
If I contribute to my group insurance, can I still subscribe an individual tax deductible pension-savings plan?
Yes, you can save up for your retirement on your own initiative in addition to your group insurance. Any natural person between 18 and 65 years of age with a taxable income who lives in Belgium can save up for their retirement in a private pension scheme. The amount eligible for tax relief is indexed each year. For the tax year 2022 (based on income for 2021), you can deduct pension contributions of a personal pension-savings plan up to €990 or €1,270. In exchange, the tax authorities will give you tax relief of 30% or 25% of your pension contributions. You will also pay less municipal tax as a result.
You can therefore easily combine your personal retirement savings with a personal contribution to the group insurance. As a result, you have two ways you can significantly supplement your statutory retirement pension to ensure that you can maintain your standard of living during your retirement.
What is mygroupinsurance.vivium.be?
The website mygroupinsurance.vivium.be offers information about your group insurance and is available to all salaried employees who have or had a Vivium group insurance via their employer. In exceptional cases, it will also provide information on group insurance policies for the self-employed.
If your contract starts with 530..., it will be available on mygroupinsurance.vivium.be.
It does not include information about your personal pension savings or life insurance.
When you log in, you will find the following information:
- an overview of your cover: what your group insurance includes;
- a group insurance FAQ section;
- "My Profile", a personal space with information about your personal data;
- the official benefit statement: the summary of your insured amounts.
You can have multiple contracts. Each contract can have its own status:
New premiums are being paid for these contracts.
The cover amounts are shown.
The provided premium is the current (total) annual premium.
In some exceptional circumstances, no premium has been entered, even though your contract is active. This may be the case when your employment contract has been (temporarily) suspended because of a long-term illness or career break, for example.
No new premiums are being paid for these contracts, but they still include reserves (the amount already saved).
The cover amounts are shown.
The premium no longer shows the annual premium.
No new premiums are being paid for such contracts and there are no more reserves.
All types of cover show "zero".
The premium is "zero".
The reserves under this contract have either been paid out or assigned to another contract.
A contract will no longer be visible on mygroupinsurance.vivium.be six months after it has been terminated.
What is a benefit statement?
The benefit statement is your official annual group insurance overview.
It is a detailed overview of the types of cover you have, how they are financed and how the reserves have evolved since the previous year.
The benefit statement contains a lot of information that is not always easy to understand. To help you do this, we have created a video that explains everything clearly.
If you don't want to know all the details, but do want to understand the big picture, take a look at the cover screen in your personal area on mygroupinsurance.vivium.be (via Sign in). There you will find the most recent figures for all your types of insurance cover.
What do "adjustment date" and "calculation date" mean?
The calculation date and the annual adjustment date are usually the same. The annual adjustment date is the date when your types of insurance cover are calculated based on your salary and all other calculation elements at that time. If something happens in the meantime that affects the insurance cover, your insured cover will be recalculated.
The calculation date shown on your last benefit statement is the date when Vivium effectively performed the last recalculation of your group insurance.
This is based on the information that the employer provides us with.
For example, your group insurance may have been recalculated on 1 June (calculation date) because your family situation has changed and the rules state that this will affect your insured cover based on your salary on 1 January (annual adjustment date).
What are the pension rules? And where can I find them?
An employer or a sector takes out group insurance for (some of) its personnel. It outsources the management of the group insurance to an insurer or a pension fund. This is a statutory obligation.
The pension rules describe all the rights and obligations of the employer and of the affiliated parties and their beneficiaries, and determine the conditions for affiliation and the group insurance's implementation.
They include all the contractual provisions and answer questions such as “Who will be covered by the group insurance?”, “How will the premium be determined?” and “What types of insurance cover will be provided?”.
You can request the pension rules from your employer or read them on www.mypension.be.
What do I have to do to transfer the reserves under a previous group insurance policy to the current group insurance from my new employer?
You are entitled to transfer the reserves acquired under a pension commitment with a previous employer to the group insurance with your new employer. However, a number of conditions must be met:
- You must be working for a new employer with which you have concluded an employment contract.
- You must be affiliated to the 'pension commitment' of your new employer.
- The previous pension institution must transfer the acquired reserves directly to the current pension institution.
More details about these terms and conditions and the definition of a 'pension commitment' are provided in the FSMA's opinion.
If the above conditions have been met, you can request a transfer of reserves. This is done in a few simple steps:
- The new employer must fill in the new group insurance details on the transfer of reserves form.
- The employee completes the personal details, signs the form and sends it to the previous pension institution.
- The previous pension institution will contact Vivium for the administrative handling of the transfer of reserves and will transfer the reserves directly to Vivium's bank account.
- Vivium links the received reserves to the employee's new group insurance policy and sends the employee a new benefit statement with details of the transferred reserves.