How to Save a Block Exemption: The Case of the Insurance Block Exemption

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David Strang, May 27, 2008

The Commission has recently issued a consultation paper regarding the future of Regulation 358/2003, the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation which is set to expire on March 31, 2010. Responses to the consultation are due by July 17, 2008. While the future of the IBER is itself important, the Commission’s approach to the question of whether this exemption should be renewed or allowed to expire is instructive in considering the future of block exemptions generally and, in particular, those which are industry-specific. This article examines a number of issues relating to the IBER, many of which will be relevant to other industry specific exemptions and indeed to block exemptions generally. These issues include the original rationale for an insurance block exemption, the attitude currently adopted by the Commission towards the exemption, the implications of the potential expiry of the exemption, and what kind of evidence may persuade the Commission to retain the exemption.

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