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Motor insurers agree to open access to claims database following investigation by European Commission

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Car insurers in this country have pledged to ensure fair access to a claims database they hold following an investigation into anti-competitive practices by the European Commission.

It comes after the EU Commission told Insurance Ireland last year that it had formed a preliminary opinion that it had breached competition rules in the motor vehicle market.

Insurance Ireland insists it hasn’t broken any rules but has agreed to a number of legally binding commitments to open up its fraud database to insurers looking to enter the market.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said the Commission had now made the commitments offered by Insurance Ireland legally binding under EU antitrust rules.

Insurance Ireland is an association of Irish insurers.

Insurance Ireland’s admission of legally binding commitments to the Commission comes after Commission officials raided the premises of insurance companies here in 2017 over alleged cartel activity.

In May 2019, she then initiated a formal investigation. With the latest development, the five-year investigative process has been completed.

The investigation focused on Insurance Ireland’s ‘Insurance Link’ information exchange system.

This database is sometimes referred to as the Fraud Information System, but Insurance Ireland says it is a claims database.

Any insurer entering this market must have access to it. Allegations that access to it was restricted prompted the Commission to investigate, a claim that Insurance Ireland has consistently denied.

Ms Vestager said the database contained important data for companies offering motor insurance services in Ireland.

“Insurance Ireland has offered commitments that ensure access to its data exchange system on a fair, transparent, objective and non-discriminatory basis.”

The Commission has now made this binding.

“The commitments will restore a level playing field in the Irish motor insurance market and facilitate the entry of new players.”

This means consumers can benefit from a wider choice of providers.

She said that last June the Commission expressed its preliminary view that Insurance Ireland was arbitrarily delaying or effectively refusing access to its Insurance Link information exchange system for non-members, thereby restricting competition in the Irish motor insurance market.

Insurance Ireland welcomed the end of the investigation into its claims database and insisted that the Commission had found no infringement by Insurance Ireland.

“The offer of the Commitments is not an acknowledgment that Insurance Ireland has breached competition laws and Insurance Ireland notes that the European Commission has not found that Insurance Ireland has breached competition laws,” said the organisation’s Chief Executive, Moyagh Murdock .

She said the commitments provide clear criteria and procedures for access to the InsuranceLink database.

“We have cooperated fully and constructively with the European Commission throughout their investigation to address the concerns raised in relation to InsuranceLink and we are pleased that the Commission has decided to accept the commitments and close its investigation,” said Ms. Murdock.

Insurance Ireland is committed to making access to Insurance Link independent of Insurance Ireland membership.

It has also committed to amending the Insurance Link access criteria to make them fair, objective, transparent and non-discriminatory for all applicants from Ireland and other EU Member States.

It has also agreed to ensure that the criteria for membership of Insurance Ireland are fair, objective, transparent and non-discriminatory.

https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/insurance/motor-insurers-agree-to-open-up-access-to-claims-database-after-european-commission-probe-41803887.html Motor insurers agree to open access to claims database following investigation by European Commission

Fry Electronics Team

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