Case reference: CE/9388/10
The OFT has accepted formal commitments from six insurance companies and
two IT software and service providers to limit the data they exchange
Having accepted the commitments, the OFT has ended its investigation and
will not be proceeding to a decision on whether or not the Competition
Act has been infringed.
Summary of work
The formal offer of commitments came from insurers Ageas Insurance Ltd
(formally Fortis Insurance Ltd), Aviva Insurance UK Ltd, AXA Insurance
UK plc, Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Ltd, RBS Insurance Group
Ltd, and Zurich Insurance plc – UK Branch; and IT software and service
providers Experian Ltd and SSP Ltd, and followed an OFT investigation
into the exchange of broker pricing information between insurers in the
private motor sector.
The OFT investigation identified an increased risk of price coordination
among motor insurers using a specialist market analysis tool provided by
Experian called WhatIf? Private Motor.
The OFT warned the firms that, because insurers were able to access
information about their competitors’ future pricing intentions, the
information exchanged through WhatIf? Private Motor raised competition
law concerns that it could potentially be used to coordinate on price.
The accepted commitments address the OFT’s concerns by ensuring that the
companies will exchange pricing information through the analysis tool
only if that information meets certain principles agreed with the OFT.
These principles require the information, if less than six months old,
to be anonymised, aggregated across at least five insurers and already
'live' in broker-sold policies.
It is proposed that these commitments will remain in force for five
years. It should also be noted, where the OFT has accepted binding
commitments it may for the purpose of addressing its current competition
concerns, accept a variation of or substitution for the commitments.
Published 2 December 2011