On 17 September 2020, the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission announced that it has “reasonable grounds to suspect” that five major insurers, including AXA, Allianz and AIG, an insurance broker and a trade association had engaged in anti-competitive practices in 2015 and 2016. The suspected practices comprise public price announcements that enabled competitors to reduce strategic uncertainty between themselves; this is commonly referred to as “price signalling”. The Commission’s preliminary findings do not prejudge the outcome of the investigation and the parties now have the opportunity to respond to the Commission's allegations.
There is no case anywhere in the world in which an investigation of price signalling has concluded with a finding of an infringement of competition law. That being so, the investigation is likely to be watched with some interest.
The Commission’s Press Release is here.
David Bailey is advising the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in connection with its investigation.