The European Commission is inviting comments on the commitments offered by Insurance Ireland to address competition concerns around access to a data sharing platform which the insurance body runs.
EU competition regulators announced last summer that they had formed the preliminary view after a two-year investigation that Insurance Ireland breached competition rules in the motor market.
The findings related to an alleged restriction of access to the InsuranceLink platform, run by Insurance Ireland, which certain companies with a legitimate interest wanted to join.
The Commission ruled that Insurance Ireland had effectively breached EU antitrust rules by restricting competition in the Irish motor vehicle insurance market.
It concluded that restricted access to Insurance Link placed certain companies at a competitive disadvantage on the Irish motor vehicle insurance market in comparison to companies that had access to the information exchange system.
The Commission said this acted as a barrier to entry, reducing the possibility of more competitive prices and choice of suppliers for consumers seeking motor vehicle insurance in Ireland.
Among a list of proposed remedies, the insurance body offered to make the access to the Insurance Link information exchange system independent from any membership to Insurance Ireland.
It also offered to change the access criteria and make them ‘fair, objective, transparent and non-discriminatory’ and to apply them uniformly to all applicants, from Ireland and other member states.
Insurance Ireland proposed the establishment of a new application procedure for the platform which would be handled independently and a right of appeal to an oversight committee for refused applicants.
The offered commitments would remain in force for 10 years and their implementation would be monitored by a monitoring trustee who would report regularly to the Commission.
In a statement, Insurance Ireland welcomed the Commission’s decision to ‘market test’ the commitments offered.
“While Insurance Ireland does not agree with the preliminary findings, it has pro-actively engaged with the European Commission with a view to allaying the perceived concerns set out in the Statement of Objections and has offered a comprehensive set of commitments in that regard,” it said in a statement.
Insurance Ireland said it had ‘strongly committed’ to cooperating with the European Commission investigation, adding that it would continue to do so in the next phase of the process.