The Competition Council (CC) has announced on Tuesday it has fined nine insurance companies and the National Union of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies in Romania (UNSAR) by RON 246,739,195 (approx. EUR 53 million) for violating the national and European regulations in the field of competition by coordinating the market behaviours in view of increasing the tariffs for compulsory motor insurance policies (RCA).
This is the second largest fine issued by the CC, after the EUR 205 million fines in the petroleum field in 2011, capital.ro reports.
“The Competition Council has sanctioned nine insurance companies and UNSAR with fines amounting to RON 246,739,195.6 for violating the national and European regulations in the competition field by coordinating the market behaviours in view of increasing the RCA,” the CC release reads.
Following the investigation, the CC has found that Allianz – Ţiriac Asigurări SA, Asigurarea Românească – Asirom Vienna Insurance Group SA, Societatea Asigurare-Reasigurare Astra Asigurări SA, Carpatica Asig SA, Euroins România Asigurare-Reasigurare SA, Generali Romania Asigurare Reasigurare SA, Groupama Asigurări SA, Omniasig Vienna Insurance Group SA and Uniqa Asigurări SA have taken part to the exchange of sensitive commercial information regarding the companies’ intentions to increase the RCA tariffs.
The largest sanction is for Allianz – Ţiriac Asigurări (RON 43.44 million), Omniasig Vienna Insurance Group SA (RON 40.53 million) and Asigurarea Românească – Asirom Vienna Insurance Group SA (RON 36.97 million).
The concerted practice, facilitated by UNSAR, has led to decreased competition on the RCA insurance market during October 2012 – November 2016, as insurance companies did not set their tariffs independently but have acted concerted on the market, taking into account the discussions within the association to increase the tariffs.
UNSAR could challenge the decision in court
UNSAR has learnt about the CC decision to be fined by RON 160,436 and is waiting for the reasoning in order to set the next steps, nevertheless claims it has the right to challenge it in court, a release from the organization reads.
UNSAR representatives argue that by the activity carried out in order to meet the purpose for which it was set up, it has not taken part to any anti-competiveness offense. The organisation’s representatives say they are committed over long term to consolidate the cooperation with all state authorities in view of developing the insurance sector in Romania, in the benefit of insurance consumers.