Peter Crowther, May 27, 2008
On April 17, 2008, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (Regulation 358/2003). The ultimate purpose of the consultation is to determine whether there remain sufficient grounds to maintain a block exemption from the application of Article 81(1) EC of certain types of agreements in the insurance sector, on the BER’s expiry on March 31, 2010. The Commission has invited comments on its Consultation Paper by July 17, 2008, after which the Commission will draft a report to be submitted to the European Parliament and Council before March 2009. Based on the Commission’s current stance, those companies which currently benefit from the BER and wish to see it or some alternative form of guidance remain in place will need to provide clear and convincing arguments for its retention.