Monday, 3 March 2014

Harmonisation of insurance contract laws?

Short after the Parliament's first reading vote on the Common European (now, Distance) Sales Law, the Commission might be starting a new contract law harmonisation challenge. 
Last Friday, indeed, the previously appointed Expert Group delivered its report on barriers to cross-border trade in insurance products.
Presenting the report, Commissioner Reding underlined how "only a few customers can buy insurance products in other countries, with just 0.6% of all motor insurance premiums and 2.8% of property insurance premiums offered across EU borders." 
The Group's main finding is that important differences exist in the contract law rules of especially life, motor and liability insurance products, which make it harder- and more expensive- for traders to offer "pan-european" products and for consumers/policyholders to take their insurance with them as they move between European countries. Of course rules outside contract law could also play a role in generating such barriers, but these rules remained beyond the Group's subject of investigation.
Unsurprisingly, the problem is found to be less severe in the large risks segment, where the cross-border dimension has been for a longer time usual business. 
Want to know more? You can take a look at the report.

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