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Consultation on Changes to Insurance Block Exemption Regulation

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on its proposal for a revised Block Exemption Regulation (BER) for the insurance sector. The current BER, which expires on 31 March 2010, exempts certain agreements between companies in the insurance sector from the ban on restrictive business practices provided for by European competition law rules.

The draft BER proposes to renew two of the four categories of agreements currently exempted, namely information exchanges and insurance pools, with certain amendments. The Commission considers that two other types of agreement currently covered – non-binding standard policy conditions and agreements on security devices – do not require a sector-specific BER. The Commission proposes key changes to the treatment of co-insurance and co-reinsurance pools and to amend the basis for market share calculation. It also proposes changes to the exemption for the joint compilation and distribution of information.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments by 30 November 2009, and the revised BER, if adopted, is due to enter into force next April. In light of the proposed changes, insurers should monitor the outcome of the consultation to ensure future compliance with the competition rules.