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Investigation into Insurance Ireland Data Pooling System

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Investigation into Insurance Ireland Data Pooling System

Investigation into Insurance Ireland Data Pooling System
May 17
10:51 2019

The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation into Insurance Ireland to assess whether the conditions of access to its Insurance Link data pooling system may restrict competition, in breach of EU rules. Insurance Ireland is an association bringing together several member companies active in the insurance sector in Ireland.

Insurance Ireland administers and makes available to its member companies the Insurance Link database. The member companies contribute insurance claims data to the database on an ongoing basis. The stated purpose of the system is to facilitate the detection of potentially fraudulent behaviour by insurance claimants and to ensure the accuracy of information provided by potential customers to insurance companies and/or their agents.

The participation in and access to a data pool by insurance service providers may directly benefit consumers in terms of ensuring more suitable products and competitive prices. In the case of Insurance Ireland, the Commission’s investigation will assess, in particular, whether the conditions imposed on companies wishing to participate in and access the Insurance Link database may have had the effect of placing these companies at a competitive disadvantage on the Irish motor insurance market in comparison to companies already having access to the database.

If proven, the practices under investigation may breach EU competition rules, which prohibit agreements between companies that prevent, restrict or distort competition within the EU’s Single Market (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). The opening of the formal investigation follows inspections carried out in July 2017 in the Irish motor insurance market. The Commission will now carry out its in-depth investigation as a matter of priority. The opening of a formal investigation does not prejudge its outcome.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager (pictured), in charge of competition policy, said: “Insurance is essential for all car drivers in Europe. We are investigating whether companies wishing to offer their services on the Irish motor insurance market may have been unfairly prevented from accessing a data pool managed by Insurance Ireland for its member companies. This could potentially reduce Irish drivers’ choice of motor insurance policies at competitive prices.”

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