EU Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER) to expire on 31 March 2017

By Hendrike Kühl, Policy Director, IUMI

The European Commission (EC) decided in December 2016 not to renew the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER), which will expire on 31 March 2017. IBER permits certain types of cooperation between insurers as long as the preconditions of the IBER are fulfilled. Exceptions include the exchange and/or aggregation of data in statistics and studies, as well as the joint insurance and/or reinsurance of risks in pools.

While such collaboration is likely to improve the more precise pricing of insurance products, it may at the same time lead to reduced competition. The need for IBER has been under consideration by the European Commission on a regular basis for several years. The EC now finds the new “Guidelines on horizontal cooperation”, that were introduced in 2011, sufficient to address issues related to the conformity of joint compilations, tables and studies within the antitrust rules.

An additional factor contributing to the expiry of IBER was stakeholder feedback, which indicated that the exemptions were no longer frequently in use. Notably, the end of IBER does not imply that certain forms of cooperation become unlawful from 1 April 2017 onwards. Instead, insurers are required to evaluate their cooperation with market participants in view of their business environment to assess whether it is in line with antitrust rules.

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