The services provided by insurance companies depend on an uncertain factor, the occurrence of the insured risk. Cooperation amongst insurers can enhance efficiency, for instance by helping insurers to share large and unpredictable risks or to gain better understanding of certain specific risks. Competition concerns arise, however, where such cooperation distorts competition and exceeds what is necessary to achieve substantial efficiency gains.
Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER)
The Regulation grants an exemption to the application of competition rules to certain types of agreements in the insurance sector, namely agreements on:
- Joint compilations, tables and studies
- Co-(re)insurance pools (common coverage of certain types of risks).
Block Exemption Regulation (EU) No. 267/2010 entered into force on 24th March 2010
In its March 2016 Report on the functioning and future of IBER, the Commission presented its preliminary view that the IBER should lapse. The Commission's Guidelines on horizontal cooperation published in 2011 offer guidance on how to assess the conformity of joint compilations, tables and studies with the antitrust rules. In December 2016, the European Commission decided not to renew the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER) and took note of its expiry on 31 March 2017.
- Switching of tangible and intangible assets between different insurance products, August 2016
- Different forms of cooperation between insurance companies and their respective impact on competition, August 2016
- Study on co(re)insurance pools and on ad-hoc co(re)insurance agreements on the subscription market, July 2014
Sector Inquiry into Business Insurance
In 2005 the Commission launched a sector inquiry to gain better understanding of the functioning of the sector and ultimately to detect possible distortions of competition. The inquiry focused on the provision of insurance products and services to business and also covered reinsurance as well as insurance and reinsurance intermediation.