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Brussels, 19th March 2002

Insurance: Commission welcomes Council Common Position on proposed Insurance Mediation Directive

The European Commission has welcomed the unanimous adoption by the Council of a Common Position on the proposed Directive on insurance mediation, a key element in improving the internal market in retail insurance services. The Common Position preserves the main features of the Commission's proposal presented in September 2000 (see IP 00/1048) and takes account of amendments approved by the European Parliament in its first reading. The proposal will now return to the Parliament for its second reading. Once adopted, the proposed Directive, which is a priority measure under the Financial Services Action Plan (see IP00/556), will replace a 1977 Directive and thus become the only binding Community instrument for insurance intermediaries.

Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said: "I am pleased that the Council has adopted this Common Position. The proposed Directive will make it easier for insurance intermediaries to sell their products within the European Union and, at the same time, it will guarantee proper protection of consumers' interests."

As amended by the Council, the Directive would require that individuals or companies who carry out insurance or reinsurance mediation should be registered on the basis of the following minimum requirements:

  • possession of appropriate knowledge and ability

  • being of good repute

  • possession of professional indemnity insurance or any other comparable guarantee against liability arising out of professional negligence

  • having sufficient financial capacity, in the case of insurance intermediaries who handle customers' money.

These requirements guarantee a high level of professionalism and competence on the part of insurance intermediaries in the European Union.

Member States may adopt more stringent provisions, but only for intermediaries registered on their territory. On the basis of their registration in the home country, insurance or reinsurance intermediaries will be able to do business in other Member States.

The Common Position agreed by the Council reflects a European Parliament amendment on information which must be disclosed to customers by insurance intermediaries selling services over the telephone, in accordance with the common position on the proposed Directive on distance marketing of financial services.

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