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Zilkens' News Blog

Dr. Stephan Zilkens

Stephan Zilkens

Zilkens' News Blog 3 2023

If Meiread McGuiness has her way, we will soon have 200,000 more unemployed in Germany alone. She wants to introduce a ban on commissions in the brokerage of insurance and financial services. The Irish EU Commissioner was appointed to the position of Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Capital Services by Ursula von der Leyen in 2020. Before that, she was a member of the European Parliament for 16 years and worked for the Group of the European People's Party - i.e. the Christian Democrats - was a journalist before that and was the first woman in Ireland to achieve a professional qualification as an agricultural economist. Some insurers might even like her plan - it saves costs and gets rid of the annoying brokers. But whether the oh-so-immature consumer of all sexes, who is looking at things from an EU perspective and is worthy of protection, will really find the best product for him or her without advice is open to serious question. Private liability insurance for 60 EUR, which may bring a commission of 12 EUR, is only a product worth consulting if other risks of the clientele can also be covered. And no one spends 150 euros as a consulting fee to have the differences between private and professional liability explained to them. In any case, there is no need for mature citizens to call for bans on commissions, especially since the consequence is a further potential burden on our social systems.

Which brings us to the question of qualifications in high state, government and commission offices. For some time now, there have been regulations on the gender and qualification composition of public limited companies. Only those who have the consecration and approval of the BAFIN, i.e. a neutral (one hopes at least) institution that decides on the basis of criteria, may become board members of a financial or insurance institution. Only those who have previously demonstrated the necessary qualifications to their supervisory authority are allowed to advise insurance products. Anyone can become a minister (probably out of a misconception of proportional representation - an insult to all women, in my opinion) and a minister. Presumably Christine Lambrecht is now drawing the consequences from the fact that she cannot close the gap between authority and competence as Defence Minister. Ursula von der Leyen was lucky that something was cleared for her in Brussels, otherwise one might have expected something similar. The troops are used to grief, poorly equipped and only since 11 months back on a path to public awareness, have they developed a great capacity for suffering. In Thuringia, two ministers are appointed whose qualifications for the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Energy respectively are not immediately obvious - at least they have professional experience and not a purely political career. One was clerk in the rank of police chief commissioner (leadership experience?) Doreen Denstädt and the other, Bernhard Stengele, actor and director of the Überlingen Summer Theatre (leadership experience). Presumably there are now voices that want to locate my comment in the right-wing camp. There are similar careers in ministries in other federal states and in the top echelons of political parties, which are far removed from the legal requirements for companies. Ultimately, competence and authority in office determines acceptance of our democratic constitution among the population. It is bad enough that public reporting constantly talks about civil society as opposed to what actually? All citizens of the state make up society. Some we give a mandate to shape politically by election for a limited time. If they therefore allow themselves to be categorised - possibly into the uncivil society - we should give them the chance to return to a completely normal job at the next election.

One would think that companies (like politicians) always keep an eye on their customers and know what might be good for them. Someone came up with the idea of verbalising January in a nice English way and making a Veganuary out of it. The Landwirtschaftliche Versicherungsverein Münster (Münster Agricultural Insurance Association) took this to heart and imposed vegan cuisine in its canteen for a month - forced gratification in the name of a good cause, so to speak. Now the farmers, whose livelihood is based on livestock farming, are pissed off and partly cancel their contracts with the association. The competitors are happy.

Freedom of science is one thing. Now a lecturer at Hamlin University in St. Paul, Minnesota, has been caught, who dared to show depictions of Mohammed from 1307 as part of an art history lecture. Radical Koran exegetes among the students found this too much and demanded the dismissal of the professor from the university's private-sector presidency. The lecturer's contract was not renewed. Now one wonders what to make of a private university and its degrees, whose tuition fees amount to about 50,000 USD?

When Bolsonaro supporters stormed parliament, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court in Brasilia on 8 January, it was not only furniture that was broken. Unfortunately, the mob did not stop at several works of art that were damaged. None of this was insured - and if it was, the "riot, civil commotion" clause would be invoked, releasing the insurer from liability.

Nevertheless, an inspiring start to the week to all of you


Stephan Zilkens and the team of Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH in Solothurn and Cologne

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