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What the Commission has been doing on insurance contracts

The European Commission has taken a number of measures to remove obstacles to cross-border trade posed by insurance contracts and pension products.

EU measures

2013/2014 Expert group on European insurance contract law

The European Commission established an expert group to examine the differences in insurance contract laws and to what extent they can hinder cross-border trade of insurance products. The expert group delivered its final report in January 2014.

See expert group on European insurance contract law

2012 Commission White paper on pensions

On 16 February 2012, the Commission adopted the White paper 'An agenda for adequate, safe and sustainable pensions' (pdf). The white paper put forward a package of initiatives to facilitate the development of complementary private retirement savings.

Measure 19 of this package announced that the Commission would strive to facilitate cross-border distribution of certain private pension products. Specifically, the Commission would examine the need to remove contract law-related obstacles to the design and distribution of life insurance products with savings/investment functions.

2011 European Parliament calling for inclusion of insurance contracts in contract law legislative intiatives and adoption of a proposal for Regulation of Common European Sales Law

The European Parliament resolution of 8 June 2011reiterated the Parliament's earlier call to include insurance contracts within the scope of an optional legislative proposals on contract law.

Following the Green Paper consultation, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on a Common European Sales Law on 11 October 2011. This proposal dealt primarily with the sale of goods and did not deal with insurance law. Nevertheless, having considered all responses to the Green Paper, the Commission took note of the concerns expressed by stakeholders from the insurance sector.

2010 Consultation on contract law: concerns of the insurance sector

In 2010 the Commission launched a Green Paper on policy options on progress towards a European contract law for consumers and businesses (pdf).

A number of stakeholders from the insurance sector, in particular representatives of insurance undertakings and insurance intermediaries, responded and noted that differences in contract law posed obstacles to cross-border trade in insurance products.