Auto insurers reportedly raided by competition watchdog

Motor insurers brokers raided as authorities seek cartel evidence
Irish-based motor insurers raided by EU competition officials

04 July, 2017

INSURERS" REPRESENTATIVE BODY Insurance Ireland says it is "cooperating fully' with the office raids seen earlier today on Irish-based insurance companies as part of investigations into alleged price-fixing.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) initiated a probe into the insurance industry at the end of previous year.

The EU Commission said it is investigating whether the companies involved may have engaged in anti-competitive practices that breach EU competition rules prohibiting cartels.

It comes amid an investigation into the industry by the CCPC, amid concerns that companies were openly signaling price increases in breach of competition law.

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said news of raids by competition enforcement officials of offices linked to the Irish insurance industry are welcome although they have come late in the day.

In a statement it said the inspections were a preliminary step in a probe into anti-competitive practices which may be in breach of European Union antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and the abuse of a dominant market position.

The statement also said there is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anti-competitive conduct.

The newspaper adds that Insurance Ireland, the representative body for the insurance industry in this country, was included in the raid.

In a statement Insurance Ireland confirmed it was subject to an "unannounced inspection at its premises".

This database, access to which is governed by a protocol established by the Data Protection Commission in 2012, is run by a software company.

"Insurance Ireland understands that the inspection at its premises relates to databases concerning claims history information and drivers' penalty points", the organisation stated.

The European Competition Directorate is concerned that the single market for insurance operates without hindrance. "Insurance Ireland is not in a position to comment further at this time".

The CCPC issued witness summonses and information requests to major motor insurance providers and industry groups representing insurers and brokers.

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