ABI stresses OFT found no breaching of competition law

The ABI has defended insurers over the Office of Fair Trading's data sharing probe, stressing there were no findings of foul play.

An ABI spokesman said: “As the OFT has made clear, it has not made a finding of an infringement of competition law today. We welcome the OFT’s proposal to consult on an approach that has been agreed with some motor insurance companies to ensure that there is no concern about any infringement going forward.

"The motor insurance market is competitive and offers choice for customers. Motor insurers have made an underwriting loss for the last 16 years, amounting to £1.6bn in the last year alone due to issues such as insurance fraud and increasing personal injury claims which urgently need to be tackled.”

Ageas agreed no breach of rules was found, furthermore, it assited the OFT at all stages.

A spokesman said: "Ageas UK notes the publication of the OFT's consultation paper. During the course of the OFT's twelve month investigation, they found no evidence to indicate any customer detriment or anti-competitive behaviour on our part. The OFT makes this clear in its consultation paper.

"Ageas has assisted the OFT wherever possible and has signed up to its commitments because they are aligned to our own established approach of acting in the best interest of our customers."

An Aviva spokesman said: “Aviva welcomes the consultation and has actively participated in discussions with the OFT. The personal motor market is hugely competitive and these proposals will bring an increased clarity that will benefit consumers and insurers alike.”

The insurance industry was responding after seven of the UK’s biggest insurance companies and two IT software and service providers agreed to limit the data that they exchange between them following the raising of competition law concerns by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Ageas, Aviva, AXA, Liverpool Victoria, RBS Insurance Group, RSA and Zurich have all offered formal commitments to the OFT in the wake of an OFT investigation which identified an increased risk of price coordination among motor insurers using Experian’s specialist market analysis tool Whatif? Private Motor.