The European Commission recently adopted a report on the functioning of the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (BER). The BER currently exempts certain agreements between companies in the insurance sector from the ban on restrictive business practices provided for by European competition law rules. Agreements currently covered by the BER include the establishment of non-binding standard policy conditions, the exchange of statistical information for the calculation of risks and the creation of insurance pools.
As the BER is due to expire on 31 March 2010, the Commission has considered whether it should be renewed or extended. It considers, at this stage, that two of the four categories of agreements currently exempted by the BER could be renewed, namely information exchange and co(re)insurance pools. The Commission does not support the renewal of the BER for standard policy conditions and security devices, as these are not specific to the sector.
A public hearing will take place on 2 June 2009 at which interested parties may make representations on the Commission’s report. The Commission then will make a final decision on the future of the BER.