Response of the Association of German Public Insurers to the European Commission
‘Green Paper on retail financial services: better products, more choice, and greater opportunities for consumers and businesses’

The Association of German Public Insurers welcomes the European Commission’s consultation on retail financial services and its intention to seek possible enhancements to the Internal Market.

As Germany’s second-largest primary insurance provider with a strong regional presence, the group is committed to constructive dialogue with both national and European legislators in the interests of all market participants and of a stable European insurance sector.

In particular, the Association of German Public Insurers supports the following positions:

1. Consumers want strong, reliable regional brands. Any political or regulatory measures should not jeopardise these brands.

2. Different economic and legal conditions in the Member States lead to different insurance solutions for consumers. Any standardisation and cross-border distribution of insurance products could only be achieved by harmonising tax, contract, liability and tort law, as well as social security legislation. Standardised insurance solutions without the adequate harmonisation of legal systems would result in products that could no longer meet consumers’ needs and that would trigger price increases in many cases. This should be avoided in the interests of both consumers and providers.

3. With regard to the public interest in promoting the best possible product transparency, it is important to consider that prices for insurance products often cannot easily be compared, and then only under specific circumstances. A direct comparison is only feasible, at best, when products offer identical benefits and cover.

4. Promoting the opportunities of digitalisation also means:
a) protecting consumers through adequate regulatory and supervisory requirements that apply to all market participants equally; and
b) taking into consideration the specific requirements of different distribution channels and, consequently, safeguarding the diversity of those channels.

The Association of German Public Insurers will closely follow the further legislative and political process related to these matters and is ready and willing to provide its expertise to the European institutions at any time.

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