By its decision published on 7 November 2016, the Italian Competition Authority has opened an investigation (A499) against CODIPRA for an alleged abuse of dominant position.
CODIPRA (Consortium for the Defense of the Agricultural Productions) is active in the provision to its members of services relating to the collection of the public financial aids offered to the agricultural companies for the payment of agricultural insurance premiums covering environmental risks.
The investigation has been launched following the complaints submitted by the insurance broker AMIL Broker di Assicurazioni S.r.l. and COOP DI ITALIA, a competitor of COODIPRA.
The Italian Competition Authority claims that CODIPRA holds a dominant position in the market for the collection of the above mentioned financial aids within the area surrounding the city of Trento.
The aim of the investigation is to assess whether an abuse of dominant position has been put in place by CODIPRA by means of:
- Applying exclusive dealing provisions in the agreements with the insurance companies, likely to prevent the entry of competitors in the upstream market for the insurance policies
- Limiting the possibility for the members of CODIPRA to subscribe a supplementary insurance
- applying a discount on the association fee to those agricultural companies that decide to use CODIPRA subsidiary Agriduemila as insurance broker, so enhancing foreclosure effects in the market for insurance brokerage
In addition, the Italian Competition Authority observe that such practices fit into a scenario where CODIPRA has set the same price for each type of risk concerned, distinguishing on the basis of the City and of the type of cultivation, regardless from the insurance company which actually has covered the risk, so preventing the development of competition among the premiums offered by the insurance companies.
All interested parties (anyone who believes to have been harmed by the practices under investigation, such as competitors, insurance companies, insurance broker and customers) has the right to intervene in the investigation, submitting a motivated request for intervention within 30 days from the publication of the decision to open the investigation (namely, within 7 December 2016).
At the end of the proceeding, where the Italian Competition Authority finds that an abuse of dominance actually occurred a fine up to 10% of the turnover may be imposed on the author of the abuse. Anyone who has suffered a harm as a consequence of the abuse will be entitled to bring civil action for damages before the national Courts.
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