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Sperrschein

The term ‘Sperrschein‘ is used mainly in German insurance law. However, it can be unfamiliar even for German speakers, namely because it derives from Austrian legal terminology. The more frequent German expression having the same meaning is ‘Vinkulierung’.

But how can we define the concept of ‘der Sperrschein’? It is a kind of insurance, which implies restricted transferability of a claim in favour of a third party, mostly a financial institution. ‘Sperrschein‘ is a guarantee for the bank, it typically occurs in contractual relationships related to mortgage and leasing. If any injury or damage (predominantly fatality and fire) occurs, the insurance claim shall be transferred to the bank. The contracting parties might set forth in their agreement the specific cases when ‘Sperrschein‘ shall apply. Nevertheless, the insured might receive the insurance indemnity, but only upon the approval of the bank. The guarantee in question changes the subject of the insurance claim, and eventually the financial institution is the one who becomes the beneficiary of the insurance.

In English terminology you might not find equivalent translation for the word ‘Sperrschein‘, or ‘Vinkulierung‘. Mainly it is translated as restriction or limitation on transferability. However, note that the English term implies a wider meaning. It might lead to restriction on transfer of shares or lock-in periods, but ‘der Sperrschein‘ occurs only in insurance relations.

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