NMa Publishes Consultation Document on Insurance Brokers
Competition on the market for insurance brokerage is not optimal. This is the provisional conclusion drawn by the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) in its consultation document on the distribution channel for insurance products. The limited competition is the consequence, on the one hand, of strong incentives given by insurers to insurance brokers in the form of commissions, bonuses, finance and production targets. On the other hand, consumers exhibit little search and switching behaviour.
This is due to insufficient transparency with regard to existing links between insurers and insurance brokers, the complexity of financial products, the commission system and switching costs. The double role of the insurance broker as an adviser, on the one hand, and as a party with a financial interest in the transaction, on the other hand, may result in non-objective advice. After this, NMa will conduct further research together with the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis [Centraal Planbureau (CPB)].
In this consultation document, NMa describes the structure of the insurance brokerage market, the role of insurers and role of consumers. These descriptions lead to provisional conclusions about the degree of competition on this market. Up until February 2005, all interested parties may respond to the document. NMa will use the contributions to develop its definitive view on this sector.
NMa has published this consultation document as a follow up to broader research into the insurance market in the Netherlands. The attention given to the financial sector flows from NMa's Agenda 2004. The consultation document Het intermediaire distributiekanaal ('The Insurance Brokerage Distribution Channel') can be obtained from NMa's website (www.acm.nl).