The European Union's Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER) has the potential to boost competition and must be fully renewed after expiry in 2017, Insurance Europe has said.
On August 5, the European Commission launched a consultation on the IBER to determine whether it should be retained, amended, or abandoned on its expiry on March 31 2017.
The IBER allows (re)insurers to benefit from an exemption to the prohibition of anti-competitive arrangements. Currently, the exemption provides legal certainty for insurers to cooperate when compiling data and to conduct joint studies. This allows insurers to better understand and price risks, Insurance Europe said.
According to the trade body, the IBER ensures the availability of a wide range of insurance products. It called on the commission to renew the legal instrument once it expires in 2017.
William Vidonja, head of Insurance Europe's single market and social affairs team, said that the competition fostered by the IBER has an important impact on insurance coverage and pricing.
'It opens up markets to new competitors, and so results in more choice in terms of insurance supplies and products and services,' he said.
'The renewal of the current IBER is essential for insurers in Europe. Without the legal certainty provided by the IBER there is a serious risk that insurers may stop cooperating and this would have a detrimental impact on competition in the industry, and ultimately policyholders.'
The European Commission's consultation on the legal instrument closed yesterday.