On 24 March 2009, the European Commission presented its preliminary report on the issue of whether to renew the EU Insurance Block Exemption, due to expire in March 2010. The exemption dis-applies normal EC competition rules from certain agreements and arrangements which are regularly used in the insurance sector. Similar exemptions apply to the motor vehicle transport and shipping industries. The idea behind the block exemption is to increase efficiencies in the sector and ultimately, to benefit policyholders. Based on the Commission's preliminary report, only certain agreements covered by the exemption should continue to benefit, e.g. agreements for joint calculations and studies of risk, while other agreements should not as they are not particular to the insurance sector, e.g. agreements setting standard policy conditions. No final decision has been taken, but a formal consultation will take place before the end of 2009 if changes are planned.
While Irish law does not have an equivalent block exemption, it is believed that Irish competition law would respect the principles in the current and any new EU block exemption.