A new Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER), excluding certain forms insurance agreements from the EU’s prohibition on restrictive business practices, is due to come into force in April 2010. In contrast to the old exemption regulation, the new IBER will exempt, until April 2017, only two forms of co-operation. These are:

  • co(re)insurance pools which provide common coverage of risks by insurance companies; and
  • certain types of information exchange which are critical to assessing the cost of risk cover and those which facilitate entry into new markets.

The earlier exemptions for standard policy conditions and agreements on securities devices are no longer covered by the IBER. In future, these types of agreements will have to be assessed under the general competition rules on horizontal agreements. The European Commission intends to address the application of the general rules to these types of agreements in its revised Guidelines on horizontal cooperation, which are due out later this year.