Motor insurers, brokers raided as authorities seek cartel evidence

European authorities swoop on Irish industry as car insurance premiums soar

Motor insurers, brokers raided as authorities seek cartel evidence

Motor & Fleet

By Terry Gangcuangco

Motor insurance providers and brokers in Ireland were raided yesterday by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and the European Competition Directorate, as part of an investigation into alleged cartel activity.

Representative body Insurance Ireland was also raided in the search for documentary evidence, according to a report by the Irish Independent. The report said CCPC wanted to ensure there was no breach of competition law, with the probe into the industry ongoing for almost 10 months now.

The cost of motor premiums surged by about 60% in the past three years, prompting consumer groups as well as politicians to demand for an investigation. Reacting to the raids, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD said it is good news for consumers that concerns he has voiced for some time about cartelism are now being taken seriously.

“The dramatic spikes in insurance prices across the board, and the fact that the Central Bank has accused the insurers of providing false information to it, point to sound grounds for investigation,” said the politician.

The European Commission has confirmed that its officials carried out the unannounced inspections, explaining in a statement that it has concerns that the companies involved may have engaged in anti-competitive practices in breach of European Union antitrust rules.

“Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anti-competitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation,” said the Commission.

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Ireland’s potential post-Brexit

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