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Parliamentary question - E-004326/2016(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Vice-President Dombrovskis on behalf of the Commission

1. Insurers must comply with legislation to protect consumers and the ‘general good’ in the host Member State where they operate. Since these rules are different in each Member State, the Commission asked in the Green Paper on retail financial services (Question 33) whether clarification of general good rules is necessary. The Commission is currently assessing the responses.

An important step towards more transparency was taken in the Insurance Distribution Directive (2016/97/EC). Member States shall set up a single point of contact for their general good rules and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) shall include on its website hyperlinks to the relevant websites. EIOPA shall examine the general good rules before 23 February 2019.

The directive also confers powers on competent authorities to ensure the proper functioning of their insurance and reinsurance markets as regards the protection of consumers. In the event of a disagreement between the competent authorities of the host and home Member States, the matter may be referred to EIOPA for mediation or arbitration.

2. The Commission issued an interpretative communication concerning the freedom to provide services and the general good of the insurance sector[1] and will evaluate in the follow-up to the Green Paper on retail financial services whether further action is needed. The Commission cannot monitor the application of general good rules in each individual case, but it will work together with EIOPA and stakeholders to identify and address problematic rules.

3. So far, the Commission has not received evidence from the insurance sector substantiating allegations that cross-border business has been prevented through the use of ‘general good’ rules, but it will make further inquiries in this regard.