Taoiseach: Insurance firm raids 'show real evidence that action is being taken' against price fixing

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said yesterday's raids on insurance companies are a sign that action is being taken on price fixing.

However, Mr Varadkar's comments come despite his admission that the Irish authorities did not initiate yesterday's raids.

Yesterday, the European Commission confirmed its officials had carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of a number of motor insurance companies operating here.

The European officials were accompanied by officers from the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

In a statement, the European Commission said it has "concerns that the companies involved may have engaged in anti-competitive practices in breach of EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position".

The commission stressed that the raids do not mean companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour.

The representative body Insurance Ireland, meanwhile, confirmed it was subject to an unannounced inspection.

The organisation said it understands the the inspection was in connection with "databases concerning claims history information and drivers' penalty points".

Today, Mr Varadkar told the Dáil that yesterday's raids were not linked to an inquiry which the CCPC is already running.

The Taoiseach said the authority's work, combined with the EU raids, shows insurers are being watched.

He said: "I think the actions that occurred recently, and actions taken by the Competition and Consumer Commission in recent times, show real evidence that action is being taken to enforce competition law."

He added that laws are in place to make sure there is "no collusion or cartels among businesses seeking to fix prices".

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