Comparison Websites in the Insurance Market: What Rules?
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In the Italian insurance market, the use of technologies facilitating online transactions is increasing together with the diffusion of the so-called comparison web sites. The European Insurance and Pension Supervision Authority (Eiopa) published in January 2014 the "Report on Good Practices on Comparison Websites" to promote the adoption of behaviors that ensure the correctness of the comparison and the transparency of the information made available to the public. In the same year, the Italian Authority for the Supervision of Insurance (Ivass) issued a survey on the comparison websites, and the Italian Competition Authority (Agcm) initiated two procedures to ascertain any incorrect commercial practices of two sites operating on national territory. In all these regulatory interventions, there is a great deal of attention to the protection of customers who make purchasing choices based on the comparison that sites propose. But, on the other hand, the issue of market competition and the risk of using digital platforms as a means of the transmission and the implementation of anti-competitive behaviors appear in the background. With the aim of deepening this issue, the paper analyzes the digitization process and the distribution changes in the Italian insurance market, the role of comparison websites and the interventions of European and national authorities, the positive impact of comparison websites on the market competitiveness and the negative one as a consequence of collusive practices.
- Insurance Market
- Comparison Websites