FERMA has called for renewal of the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER) for (re)insurance pools in its response to the European Commission consultation exercise.

The Commission launched the consultation in August (see here) to begin its assessment whether the claimed benefits for the insurance market and customers of insurance pooling still justify the special treatment they receive from EU competition authorities. Thirty-six organisations have provided their responses (consultable here) and the Commission must provide a report to member states before 31 March 2016 with the objective of deciding on its renewal in 2017.

FERMA has told the European Commission that the current IBER provides a legal certainty of exemption from EU competition rules for every (re)insurance pool in the European Union, and this benefits all stakeholders: providers of insurance capacity and users.

Without the exemption, such pools would come under the EU general guidelines on horizontal cooperation agreements which allow wide discretion to national competition authorities.

FERMA believes this change would result in the use of expensive legal services to assess the compliance of such arrangements in multiple jurisdictions diverting investment from core, value generating activities.