AdC issues Statement of Objections to 5 insurance companies and 14 directors and managers for participating in a cartel

​Press Release 11/2018

AdC issues Statement of Objections to 5 insurance companies and 14 directors and managers for participating in a cartel 
The Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência - AdC) issued a Statement of Objections to the insurance companies Fidelidade – Companhia de Seguros, Lusitania – Companhia de Seguros, Multicare – Seguros de Saúde, Seguradoras Unidas, S.A. (ex-Tranquilidade and Açoreana) and Zurich Insurance PLC – Sucursal Portugal for a price fixing and market sharing cartel.
In addition to the companies, 14 members of the board and directors are also accused in the Statement of Objections of being allegedly involved in the infringement.
The agreement lasted approximately seven years and had an impact in the cost of insurance acquired by large companies in the sub-sectors of occupational accidents, health and motor vehicles. Companies involved have a combined market share of circa 50% in each sub-sector.
The investigation was opened by the AdC in May 2017 and was followed in June and July by dawn raids in the companies’ premises, located in the region of Lisbon.
The AdC’s investigation was initiated following leniency applications by companies involved in the cartel.
The leniency program foresees the possibility to grant immunity or reduction of fines to cartel participants in AdC’s proceedings. In order to obtain total immunity a company which participated in a cartel must be the first to inform the AdC of an undetected cartel. Other companies may also benefit from a reduction of the fine.
The Portuguese Competition Law prohibits cartels, as agreements between undertakings which significantly restrict, by their object, competition in whole or in part of the national market.
The fight against cartels is a maximum priority for the AdC, taking into account the losses that they invariably cause to consumers and businesses, leading to higher prices and reduced quality and variety of goods and services.
The infringement of competition rules not only reduces consumer welfare, but also weakens the companies´ competitiveness, undermining the economy as a whole.
The AdC emphasizes that issuing a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the procedure. The addressees of the Statement of Objections have now the opportunity to exercise their rights of defence against the alleged infringement and possible applicable sanctions.
The Statement of Objections was adopted on August, 21, 2018.
21 August 2018