Do we need an antitrust insurance safe harbour?

European Commission seeks input on whether the current Insurance Block Exemption Regulation should be renewed.

The European Commission is consulting on whether or not it needs to renew the current Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER). Cooperation between insurers can restrict competition and potentially breach competition law. The IBER provides an automatic exemption from the potential application of EU competition law for both:

  • agreements with respect to joint compilations, joint tables and studies, and
  • common coverage of certain types of risks (co-insurance and co-reinsurance pools).

Currently, only three sectors of the economy benefit from specific Block Exemption Regulations (the other two are maritime liner shipping and automotive distribution). The Commission is trying to assess whether the insurance sector really is sufficiently different from other sectors which do not benefit from a Block Exemption Regulation to require its own sector-specific regulation; or whether the sector should simply be dealt with under the more general guidance on how to apply competition law - which may lead to less certainty in terms of such application. In order to make this decision, the Commission is asking the insurance industry to give its own views, by providing responses to a series of questions:

http://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2014_iber_review/index_en.html 

The deadline for the industry to provide this initial input is 04 November 2014. The Commission will then decide during the course of 2015 and 2016 whether or not a renewed insurance sector-specific regulation is needed – and, if so, in what form. The current IBER expires at the end of March 2017.

If you are interested in contributing to the consultation, or in discussing it with one of our competition experts, please contact Peter Broadhurst in the first instance.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.