From market fragmentation to market integration in the EU insurance industry: can EU regulation unify what is separate at birth?


Insurance regulation at EU level dates back to the 1970s and has always been intended to create a harmonized legal framework to incentivise freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services. However, despite considerable secondary law opposing the regulatory barriers between Member States and the general applicability of EU competition rules, fragmentation and a low level of market integration are constants of the insurance markets. In the more recent European sector regulation, the increasing focus on consumer protection and financial stability seems to predominate over the integration of domestic markets in an open and competitive European market. Through a horizontal methodological approach covering EU competition law, as well as EU internal market regulation, this contribution aims to provide a critical assessment of the impact of current EU insurance regulation on the low levels of competition and market integration. Comprehension of the reasons for market integration failure is necessary in order to answer the question of the role of regulation in the development of a competitive and integrated market in the insurance sector at EU level.