The European Commission has published a review of the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER), which expires on 31 March 2017. The Commission’s preliminary view is that the IBER is no longer necessary.
The IBER allows (re)insurers to benefit from an exemption to the application of competition law rules to two types of agreements between (re)insurers which meet certain criteria. This means that such agreements benefit from a presumption of compliance with competition law. The two types of agreements are:
- First, (re)insurers may jointly compile and distribute information needed for costs calculations and the construction of mortality tables (but not share the calculations or mortality tables themselves). The Commission considers that a specific block exemption is no longer required for these activities, noting that its 2010 Guidance on Horizontal Co-operation provides relevant guidance on information exchange. The Commission has stated that if required, it could also provide complementary specific guidance.
- Second, (re)insurers may participate in co-insurance and co-(re)insurance pools. The Commission notes that there is an industry trend away from the use of institutionalised pools towards more flexible ways of co-(re)insuring risks and that few industry participants have made use of this element of the IBER in practice.
The Commission will issue final proposals on the IBER in early 2017.
Contributed by Sheila Tormey