The European Commission (the Commission) has invited interested parties to contribute to its consultation on the functioning of the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER). The IBER is a sector-specific legal instrument that allows insurers to benefit from an exemption to the prohibition of anti-competitive arrangements laid down in Article 101 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The IBER currently covers two types of agreements between (re)insurance undertaking:

  1. Agreements with respect to joint compilations, joint tables and studies; and
  2. Common coverage of certain types of risks (co (re)insurance pools).

The IBER is due to expire on 31 March 2017 and the Commission will consider whether any parts of it would merit a renewal. The consultation questionnaire focuses on the industry’s view on market development, its experience of the application of the IBER in practice and opinions on whether the IBER should be (partially or fully) renewed. If the IBER is removed, insurance undertakings will no longer benefit from the safe harbour provided by the IBER to certain common insurance arrangements, and will need to make their own assessment of whether such agreements might be caught by article 101(1) and, if so, whether they would survive scrutiny by the Commission, a national competition authority or court.  The Commission must submit its report on the functioning and the future of the IBER to the European Parliament and the Council by March 2016. The consultation questionnaire is open until 4 November 2014.

Click here to read the Commission’s full consultation questionnaire.

Click here to read our previous client advisory on the last review of the IBER in 2010.