The Competition Council has sanctioned nine insurance companies and the National Union of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies of Romania (UNSAR) with total fines of 246,739,195.6 lei (about 53 million euros) for violation of the national and European competition regulations by coordinating market behavior in order to increase the compulsory civil liability insurance (RCA) rates.
Following the investigation, the competition authority found that Allianz - Ţiriac Asigurări SA, Romanian Insurance - Asirom Vienna Insurance Group SA, Asigurări-Reasigurare Societatea Astra Asigurări SA, Carpatica Asig SA, Euroins România Asigurări-Reasigurare SA, Generali România Asigurări Reasigurare SA, Groupama Asigurări SA, Omniasig Vienna Insurance Group SA and Uniqa Asigurări SA participated in a commercially sensitive information exchange on the intentions of these companies to increase RCA tariffs. This concerted practice, facilitated by UNSAR, has led to a reduction in competition on the RCA insurance market between October 2012 and November 2016, as insurance companies have not yet established their tariffs independently but have acted concerted on the market, taking into account the discussions to increase the wage charges within the association.
"Associations have an important role and it is legitimate for their members to meet and discuss various topics, but they do not have to go to exchanges of commercially sensitive information such as current or future prices. Such exchanges of sensitive information reduce uncertainty about competitors' strategies and foster coordination of market behavior, eliminating competition. In a competitive market, companies have to compete to provide quality services in advantageous conditions, each setting independently its pricing policy according to its own strategy and the cost structure involved in doing business, "said Bogdan Chiriţoiu, President of the Competition Council.
The fines were applied as follows:
The fines received by companies and UNSAR:
Allianz - Ţiriac Asigurări SA 43,442,939 lei
Romanian Insurance - Asirom Vienna Insurance Group SA 36,970,408 lei
Insurance & Reinsurance Society Astra Asigurări SA 22,037,026 lei
Carpatica Asig SA 26,858,238 lei
Euroins Romania Insurance-Reinsurance SA 6.346.453,60 lei
Generali Romania Insurance Reinsurance SA 21,445,106 lei
Groupama Asigurari SA 35,378,902 lei
Omniasig Vienna Insurance Group SA 40,529,090 lei
Uniqa Asigurări SA 13,570,597 lei
UNSAR 160,436 lei
In the course of the investigation, Euroins fully acknowledged the anticompetitive act and provided, in the framework of the leniency procedure, a series of documents and information which had a significant contribution to its examination and, consequently, benefited from a reduction in the fine.
In the case of Astra and Carpatica, the Competition Council took into account a shorter period of law infringement, ie until the Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) has withdrawn its operating license.
"The compulsory motor insurance market has gone through exceptional crisis situations, but in the meantime the new legislative package has been implemented and largely eliminated the dysfunctions that have led, in recent years, to sharp increases in prices. The fact that there has been progress in the functioning of the insurance market does not mean that some adjustments are no longer necessary. We will work with the ASF and the Government in order to identify the necessary measures for the harmonization of the legislation with the European regulations, respectively the consolidation of the market in order not to increase the price of the CAR ", declared Bogdan Chiritoiu, the president of the Competition Council.