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6.6.2.  Insurance services in the EU

    A directive (called Solvency II) facilitates the taking-up and pursuit of the activities of insurance and reinsurance, eliminating the most serious differences between the laws of the Member States as regards the rules to which insurance and reinsurance undertakings are subject, thus making it easier for insurance and reinsurance undertakings with head offices in the European Union to cover risks and commitments situated therein [Directive 2009/138, last amended by Regulation 2015/35]. The ''Solvency II'' directive lays down the conditions and the procedure for the granting of the authorisation for the taking-up of insurance or of reinsurance activities as well as for any refusal. It brings about such harmonisation as is necessary and sufficient to achieve the mutual recognition of authorisations and supervisory systems, and thus insurance and reinsurance undertakings authorised in their home Member States are allowed to pursue, throughout the Union, any or all of their activities by establishing branches or by providing services.

    Furthermore, the Solvency II directive establishes coordinated rules relating to the supervision of insurance groups, with a view to the protection of creditors. The coordination of the basic rules of prudential and financial supervision provides for the checking of all of a broker's activities by the Member State of origin. This system is designed to ensure the free movement of insurance products within the European Union and give European citizens the opportunity to take out insurance with any insurer established in a Member State, thus finding the coverage best suited to their needs at the lowest cost, while enjoying an adequate level of protection. An Insurance Committee, composed of representatives of Member States, helps the Commission exercise the implementation powers conferred on it by the Council in the field of direct insurance [Directive 91/675].

    EU Member States must take all appropriate measures to ensure that civil liability in respect of the use of vehicles normally based in their territory is covered by insurance [Directive 2009/103]. The contract of insurance must cover: any loss or injury which is caused in the territory of those States; and any loss or injury suffered by nationals of Member States during a direct journey between two territories in which the Treaty is in force. Each national bureau must guarantee the settlement of claims in respect of accidents occurring in its territory, caused by vehicles normally based in the territory of another Member State, whether or not such vehicles are insured. Thanks to this legislation and to the Multilateral Guarantee Agreement between national insurers' bureaux signed in Madrid on March 1991, Member States do not need to make any checks on insurance against civil liability in respect of vehicles which are normally based in a Member State or in certain third countries [Decision 2003/564].

    Harmonised rules concerning insurance companies, establish transparency and comparability of their annual and consolidated accounts [Directive 91/674]. A regulatory framework for insurance mediation, comprising a single system of registration of insurance and reinsurance intermediaries in their home Member State, aims at ensuring a high level of professionalism and competence among them, in order to facilitate the cross-border exercise of their activities and a high level of protection of policy-holders' interests [Directive 2016/97].

    The Commission may grant derogations, under certain conditions, to certain types of agreements, decisions and concerted practices in the insurance field, under application of Article 101 § 2 of the TFEU (ex Article 81 TEC [Regulation 1534/91 and Regulation 1/2003, see section 15.3.3]. In fact, the Commission block exemption regulation for the insurance sector exempts, on certain conditions, agreements that relate to: the joint calculation of existing risks and studies on future risks; the joint establishment of non-binding standard policy conditions; the setting-up and operation of groups of insurance undertakings; and the examination and recognition of security devices [Regulation 358/2003]. Another Regulation allows the collaboration between insurance undertakings in the compilation of information, aiming to improve the knowledge of risks and facilitate the rating of risks for individual companies, thus facilitating market entry and benefiting consumers [Regulation 267/2010].

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