Hollard and Santam agree to pay N$20.5 million in price fixing settlement
WINDHOEK - The Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) yesterday confirmed that it has concluded settlement agreements with Santam Namibia Ltd and Hollard Insurance Company of Namibia Ltd with respect to an ongoing investigation into alleged price fixing, which is in contravention of the Competition Act, Act 2 of 2003.
The settlement agreements are the culmination of an investigation against various insurance companies including Santam, Hollard as well as Old Mutual Short-Term Insurance Company, Outsurance Insurance Company of Namibia Ltd, Phoenix Namibia Assurance Company Ltd, Alexander Forbes Insurance and Momentum Short-Term Insurance Ltd. “The Commission’s preliminary investigation findings were that the aforementioned insurance companies engaged in price fixing in contravention of the Competition Act by coming together and setting maximum mark-ups and rates that panel beaters should charge for repairs to insured vehicles. This type of conduct is a contravention of section 23(1), read with section 23(2)(a) and 23(3)(a) of the Competition Act,” read a statement issued yesterday by the NaCC.
Section 40 of the Competition Act allows the NaCC, at any time during or after an investigation, to conclude settlement agreements with parties under investigation with a view towards resolving matters in an amicable manner. According to the NaCC, it was approached by Santam and Hollard for settlement in terms of section 40 of the Competition Act. As part of the settlement, both Santam and Hollard have admitted to an unintended contravention of section 23 of the Competition Act. The negotiations further confirmed that Santam pay a fine of N$15 million, while Hollard pays a fine of N$5.5 million for the contravention.
“The two insurance companies have further committed to implement measures to mitigate the risk of future competition law violations within their respective workplaces. The Commission will continue to monitor the behaviour of these companies through regular compliance reports to be submitted to the Commission,” read the NaCC’s statement.
In terms of section 40(3) of the Competition Act, settlement agreements have to be confirmed by court. The Commission will therefore submit both the Santam and Hollard settlement agreements to court for confirmation, whereafter the fines imposed will be paid over to the Commission.
“The Commission wishes to commend the proactive and cooperative stance adopted by Santam and Hollard in seeking to remedy their contravention of the Competition Act and for having provided the Commission with useful information regarding its investigation. The Commission is furthermore pleased that Santam and Hollard have taken steps to cease with the conduct that is the subject matter of the Commission’s investigation,” the statement continued. The statement added that the NaCC is at the cusp of finalising its investigation against the remaining insurance companies that have not settled and will in due course make a final determination in terms of Section 38 of the Competition Act. This decision will determine whether or not the NaCC will refer the other insurance companies to court for having contravened the Competition Act.
“The Commission wishes to emphasise that the window remains open for other insurance companies to approach the Commission for settlement on this matter,” the statement concluded.
2019-07-25 09:52:50 | 10 months ago