n the insurance market, the use of digital technologies facilitating online transactions is increasing together with the diffusion of the so called comparison websites. Taking into account this fact, the first issue addressed by this article is the analysis of the process of digitalization of the distributional channels both in life and non-life sectors in the European countries. Given the use of different channels, such as brokers, agents and bancassurance, a particular role is played by the comparison website. The second issue is to look at the regulatory interventions at the European level. These interventions mainly promote the adoption of behaviours that ensure the correctness of the comparison and the transparency of the information made available to the public through online platform. In this direction, the author investigates particularly the Italian case and the intervention of the insurance supervisory Authority and of the national Antitrust Authority. Moreover, the article contribution to the literature is to examine the effects of the comparison website on market competition: the effects are described, on one hand, as positive in terms of decreasing asymmetric information suffered by the insured, on the other hand, as negative in terms of increasing the possibility of collusive behaviours by the insurance companies. To confirm this last point a decision by the Lithuanian Antitrust Authority, confirmed by the European Court of Justice, is quoted to show how an online platform can be an information exchange tool and its behaviour can be considered as a facilitating practice to support collusion. The purpose of the analysis proposed is to provide useful elements for the future regulatory interventions that will follow the diffusion of new distributional channels in the insurance market. Particularly, the growing diffusion of comparison websites will involve the adoption of regulatory instruments aimed not only at protecting consumers but also at limiting their use as tools for collusive behaviour.

The effects of innovation on market competition: the case of the insurance comparison websites

donatella porrini
2018

Abstract

n the insurance market, the use of digital technologies facilitating online transactions is increasing together with the diffusion of the so called comparison websites. Taking into account this fact, the first issue addressed by this article is the analysis of the process of digitalization of the distributional channels both in life and non-life sectors in the European countries. Given the use of different channels, such as brokers, agents and bancassurance, a particular role is played by the comparison website. The second issue is to look at the regulatory interventions at the European level. These interventions mainly promote the adoption of behaviours that ensure the correctness of the comparison and the transparency of the information made available to the public through online platform. In this direction, the author investigates particularly the Italian case and the intervention of the insurance supervisory Authority and of the national Antitrust Authority. Moreover, the article contribution to the literature is to examine the effects of the comparison website on market competition: the effects are described, on one hand, as positive in terms of decreasing asymmetric information suffered by the insured, on the other hand, as negative in terms of increasing the possibility of collusive behaviours by the insurance companies. To confirm this last point a decision by the Lithuanian Antitrust Authority, confirmed by the European Court of Justice, is quoted to show how an online platform can be an information exchange tool and its behaviour can be considered as a facilitating practice to support collusion. The purpose of the analysis proposed is to provide useful elements for the future regulatory interventions that will follow the diffusion of new distributional channels in the insurance market. Particularly, the growing diffusion of comparison websites will involve the adoption of regulatory instruments aimed not only at protecting consumers but also at limiting their use as tools for collusive behaviour.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11587/425737
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