Brussels, 24th January 2007
Competition: Commission publishes interim report on business insurance inquiry; public hearing in February
The European Commission has published its interim report on the competition inquiry into the business insurance sector, which shows evidence of fragmented markets and highlights factors that may adversely affect competition. The sector inquiry, launched in June 2005 (see IP/05/719), aims at ensuring a better understanding of the functioning of the sector. This would ultimately allow the Commission to detect distortions of competition that, where appropriate, could then be tackled through antitrust enforcement, either by the Commission or by the Member States' competition authorities. Before reaching final conclusions due to be published in September 2007, the Commission invites all stakeholders to submit their views and observations on the preliminary findings. The consultation period lasts until 10 April. The Commission is also organising a public hearing in Brussels on 9 February to discuss this interim report.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “The preliminary findings of the Commission's inquiry into the business insurance sector have identified factors on all levels of the supply chain that may prevent the markets from working as well as they should. With the help of the comments received during the consultation, we intend to look at these issues in more detail before finalising the sector inquiry report."
The main findings of the Commission's interim report on competition in the business insurance sector are that:
The Commission will present the preliminary findings of the sector inquiry to stakeholders at the public hearing on 9 February 2007. Representatives from both the industry and the business insurance customers will have the opportunity to discuss the findings in two panel sessions dealing with horizontal cooperation among insurers and distribution aspects. The period for public consultation on the preliminary findings will end on 10th April; interested parties are invited to submit written observations during this period.
The Commission is further examining some of the issues highlighted in this report with the aim of identifying issues that could be closely followed by the Commission. The final report, which will take into account additional findings and the observations received during the public consultation, is due to be published in September 2007. The Commission will then decide, on the basis of the fact finding and of the input received, on whether specific measures are necessary.
For further information, see also MEMO/07/26.