On 7 October 2014 the Italian Competition Authority ("AGCM") and the Italian Insurance Authority ("IVASS") signed a Memorandum of understanding concerning the consumer protection on the insurance market ("Memorandum"). The Memorandum is an addendum to the General Memorandum of understanding between the AGCM and IVASS of 2 August 2013.
This brief paper is aimed at identifying the most relevant consequences arising out from the implementation of the Memorandum.
The Memorandum adds to the numerous memoranda of understanding on consumer protection and unfair practices entered into by the AGCM and some other Italian independent authorities, such as the Bank of Italy, Italian Energy Authority and Italian Communication Authority.
Its aim is to strengthen the cooperation between the AGCM and IVASS in order to ensure consumer protection when consumers deal with insurance companies and intermediaries.
The Memorandum will be reviewed from one year after its signature (i.e. 7 October 2014) and its review procedure must be completed by 31 December 2016.
Scope of the Memorandum
The scope of the Memorandum includes:
- Cooperation of institutional interventions of the AGCM and IVASS in the exercise of their jurisdictions, and
- Reports of the AGCM to the IVASS when it becomes aware of possible violations of the insurance regulations and viceversa reports of the IVASS to the AGCM in case of possible infringements of competition law.
The AGCM and IVASS can exploit the following tools for the purposes of their cooperation:
- Appointment of a permanent working group in charge of the implementation of the Memorandum, and
- Reciprocal exchanges of information and documents. Such information and documents are clearly covered by professional secrecy.
Furthermore, within the context of consumer protection investigations in the insurance sector before the AGCM, the Memorandum provides for requests for two types of opinions to the IVASS:
- A legal opinion to be issued by the IVASS within 30 days from the request of the AGCM, once the investigation has been completed by the AGCM, and
- A legal opinion to be issued by the IVASS within 45 days from the request of the AGCM, when the parties to a procedure pending before the AGCM propose commitments.