Buyers are worried that removing the BER could trigger an increase in premiums

The block exemption regulation (BER), which excludes commercial insurers from some competition laws, is due to expire in March 2010. Europe’s insurers are in favour of its extension.

The Comité Européan des Assurances (CEA) said the block exemption provides the legal certainty for insurers to work together and helps generate efficiencies.

Without it legitimate cooperation between insurers would be threatened, said Tommy Persson, president of the CEA. ‘Removing the BER will create uncertainty. In the current financial situation the commission should not be fostering uncertainty in the market,’ he said.

In a presentation of its findings on competition in the commercial insurance market to the FERMA Forum, the European Commission said that a majority of the respondents to its consultation were in favour of renewing the current BER in 2010. They are worried removing it would trigger an increase in premiums, said the Commission.

“Many buyers do not want change.

Thierry van Santen, corporate risk manager, Groupe Danone

The Commission also expressed concerns about certain practices in the commercial insurance market, such as premium alignment in co-insurance. According to the authority there is growing demand for reform in the co-insurance market.

‘I’m confused by the Commission’s stance on co-insurance,’ said Thierry van Santen, corporate risk manager, Groupe Danone. ‘Many buyers do not want change.’

Addressing the Commission van Santen said: ‘We say co-insurance is not a disadvantage for the market but you say it is.’