The European Commission has commenced a formal investigation into the International Group of P&I Clubs. The aim is to investigate whether the claim-sharing and joint-reinsurance agreements of the P&I Clubs infringe EU competition rules.
It does not appear that there have been any complaints made to the Commission which sparked the investigation, rather the Commission fears that provisions in agreements between clubs within the International Group may harm shipowners and insurers that are not members of the Group.
It is not known for certain how long the investigation will take. From past experience it can be estimated that the investigation will take at least one year and if a Statement of Objections is issued (which will be done if the Commission comes to a preliminary conclusion that EU competition rules have been breached), it may take a further year before the Commission makes a final decision on the matter.