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Price Signalling and Private Motor Insurance in Ireland: A Breach of Competition Law?

Gorecki, Paul (2022): Price Signalling and Private Motor Insurance in Ireland: A Breach of Competition Law?

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Abstract

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) allegations of price signalling in 2015 and 2016 by five insurers, a broker, and a broker representative body with respect to private motor insurance (PMI) premium increases did not reach, based on publicly available information, the threshold required to establish a concerted practice that breached competition law. There was a plausible alternative explanation, the underwriting cycle, for the premium increases. The failure of the CCPC to articulate a clear position on when public announcements on future prices are likely to breach competition law is likely to chill competition and damage consumer welfare. Had the CCPC investigated the alleged price signalling under the Competition (Amendment) Act 2022, which implements the ECN+ Directive, there is no reason to assume that the outcome would have been any different, despite extra powers such as civil fines.

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