The European Commission has accepted amended commitments made by Insurance Ireland to address competition concerns about access to its Insurance Link data-sharing system.
The commission said that it would now make these commitments legally binding under EU competition rules.
The EU body had last year charged the insurers’ group with breaking competition rules over its operation of Insurance Link, saying that it had restricted competition in the Irish motor-insurance market.
‘Barrier to entry’
Today (30 June), the commission said that Insurance Ireland had to ensure “fair and non-discriminatory access” to the system, which contained important data for companies offering motor-insurance services in Ireland.
The EU had expressed concerns that Insurance Ireland was arbitrarily delaying or, in practice, denying non-members access to its information-exchange system.
The commission said that this placed them at a competitive disadvantage, and acted as a barrier to entry, particularly for insurers based in other EU states.
Independent applications process
Insurance Ireland offered a number of commitments to the commission, which then held a consultation process earlier this year.
“In light of the outcome of this market test, Insurance Ireland made several amendments to the initially proposed commitments,” it said.
The amendments specify the profile and role of any independent application officer, who will handle requests for access, and offer more clarity on how the pledges made by the insurance group will be implemented and monitored.
The insurance body had already committed to making Insurance Link independent from membership of Insurance Ireland, to changing the criteria for access to make them fairer and more transparent, and to setting up a new application procedure.
“The commitments will restore the level playing field in the Irish motor-insurance market and ease the entry of new players. As a result, consumers may benefit from a larger choice of suppliers,” said Margrethe Vestager (pictured), the commissioner responsible for competition.
The final commitments will remain in force for ten years, and a trustee will be in charge of monitoring implementation and compliance.