Italy investigates alleged cartel between auto insurers

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A man wearing a face mask walks past an office belonging to the Japanese unit of Swiss insurance group Zurich in Tokyo, Japan, May 5, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues . REUTERS / Issei Kato / File Photo

MILAN, May 21 (Reuters) – Italy’s antitrust watchdog said on Friday it had opened an investigation into an alleged cartel between insurance companies and insurance price comparison sites to limit competition for auto insurance.

In a statement, the Italian Competition Authority said the companies involved were able to charge consumers higher premiums for car insurance policies because insurers and price comparison companies regularly share prices. reports, prepared by price comparison shops, of “sensitive information” on the auto insurance market.

The investigation involves, among others, Allianz Direct (ALVG.DE), Admiral Intermediary Services (ADML.L), Linear (UNPI.MI), Genertel (GASI.MI), Zurich (ZURN.S) and price comparison sites such as Facile.it.

The suspected cartel, the antitrust said, has been in place at least since 2012 and during the first lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Zurich declined to comment. Other insurance companies were not immediately available for comment. Facile.it said it was cooperating with the regulator and was confident the investigation would confirm the legitimacy of its service.

Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia, editing by Gianluca Semeraro

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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