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NMa: license required for planned merger between Dutch health insurers Achmea and De Friesland

Dutch insurance companies Achmea and De Friesland must apply for a license first before they can go through with their merger. This is the outcome of a first investigation the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has conducted, which it has published today. Once merged, the new company would have a strong buying position in the northern Dutch province of Friesland. Member of the Board of the NMa Henk Don reacts: 'We believe a licensing phase is needed in order to look into the possible consequences of a merger in Friesland. Nobody would benefit if the selection of health care in Friesland possibly deteriorated. That is why we want to analyze the merger's consequences in more detail in a second phase.' Health insurance companies are cornerstones of the new Dutch health care system, and play a crucial role in offering high-quality, accessible and affordable health care. In certain circumstances, it can be in the consumers' interests that their health insurers have a strong position on the buyer's market, but, in this case, the question arises whether such a position could become too strong.

During its first investigation, the NMa consulted the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa), which agrees with the NMa's conclusions. The NZa does not rule out the possibility that the planned merger could negatively affect health care affordability, accessibility and quality in Friesland.

The NMa's decision means that the planned merger requires a license. If Achmea and De Friesland file a license application, the NMa will then decide in the licensing phase whether or not they can go through with the planned merger.