Following Decision 682/2016, the Commission for Protection of Competition conducted a sector analysis of the competition environment in Bulgaria's insurance market. The main purpose of the analysis was to give insight into the insurance market – including trends in its development between 2010 and 2014 – and to specify potential competition issues.
The analysis focused on the applicable legislation, structure and main participants on the market. In addition, the separate insurance products were analysed, as well as the relationships between insurers, insurance intermediaries and brokers. Based on the analysis, the commission offered conclusions about the insurance market, its current competition issues and short-term trends. The commission recommended ensuring further transparency in insurance activities.
The analysis outlined the following competition issues:
- Banks and leasing companies work with related companies, such as insurance brokers, as constant practice. Thus, insured parties are forced to use certain brokers and insurers.
- Insurers impose non-compete obligations on agents. Such non-compete obligations generally enjoy block exemption. However, in certain cases they may have anti-competitive results.
- Insurance intermediaries are restricted from making discounts on account of their own remuneration. The formal or factual prohibition against such discounts imposed by insurers or based on an agreement reached with an insurer may lead to retail price maintenance and affect competition.
The commission informed the Financial Supervision Commission, the National Assembly and the Council of Ministers of the analysis results. It is expected that strategies, programmes and plans to improve the insurance environment will be adopted in the future by the relevant bodies.
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