Readers will remember that, in June 2015, the European Commission issued a statement according to which French Law was deemed to discriminate against insurance companies established in other Member States because it had the indirect effect of requiring all construction companies operating in France, regardless of the Member State in which they were established, to take out their insurance policies with insurers established in France1. The Commission invited France to amend the relevant provisions of its national law.
In this context, the French Federation of Insurance Companies (FFSA) has recently declared that, to comply with the requirements of French Law in relation to compulsory builders’ “decennial liability insurance”, European construction companies have the option of:
- Negotiating with their current insurer in order to adapt their insurance policies.
- Finding an insurance policy in France with the help of their insurer, in the framework of a partnership between European insurers.
- Finding an insurer in France.
The FFSA has also created a helpdesk for European construction companies which encounter difficulties working in France because of insurance issues. The helpdesk will link the company with an insurer to try to find a solution.
This is progress for European construction companies but does not really address the concerns raised by the European Commission in its June 2015 notification, which resulted from the combination of (i) the refusal of the French Insurance Guarantee Fund (Fond de garantie des assurances obligatoires de dommages - FGAO) to cover insurance companies operating in France under the rules of free provision of services and (ii) the reluctance of owners to give work to builders whose insurers are not covered by the French Insurance Guarantee Fund.