Industry has until November to respond to the European Commission's proposals

Insurers were disappointed that the European Commission scaled back legislation protecting them from anti-competition laws, after it published its final proposals for a partial ending of the insurance block exemption ruling (BER).

The BER gives clarity to complex European law, outlining exactly where insurers can work together in underwriting risks without falling foul of anti-competition.

Brussels proposes ending co-operation on standard wording and standard security devices.

A Lloyd’s Market Association spokesman said: “We are disappointed that the Commission has published a new block exemption regulation which omits a provision for standard policy clauses.

“We feel the case for continuing to provide protection for this important activity is strong and that the Commission has failed to clearly state its reasons for dropping this provision.”

On the plus side for insurers, the BER will still be in place for joint calculation studies and co-operation on insurance pools.

Barlow Lyde & Gildert partner and head of competition David Strang said: “In some ways, it is a success that there is a sector-specific exemption at all, given how the Commission is trying to abandon them as far as possible.”

The latest details on the BER have emerged following a report published back in March and a public hearing in June. The industry has until the end of November to react to the proposals.