The Namibian Competition Commission confirms that it has concluded settlement agreements with Santam Namibia and Hollard Insurance Namibia in respect of an investigation relating to alleged price fixing in contravention of the Competition Act. The other companies being investigated include Old Mutual Short-Term Insurance Namibia, Outsurance Insurance Company Namibia, Phoenix Namibia Assurance Company Ltd, Alexander Forbes Insurance and Momentum Short term Insurance Ltd.
The preliminary findings were that the 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.
The Competition Act allows the Commission to conclude settlement agreements with parties under investigation in an amicable manner so the Commission was approached by Santam and Hollard for settlement. Both insurance companies admitted to an unintended contravention of the Act and that Santam would pay a fine of N$15 million, while Hollard paid a fine of N$5,5 million. Both insurers further committed to implement measures to mitigate the risk of future competition law violations. The Commission will continue to monitor the behaviour of these companies.
The settlement agreements have to be confirmed by the Court. The Commission will accordingly and in due course submit both the Santam and Hollard settlement agreements to Court for confirmation, where after the fines imposed will be paid over to the Commission. The Commission wishes to commend the proactive and cooperative stance by both insurers in seeking to remedy their contravention of the Competition Act as well as having provided useful information. The Commission 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 the Competition Act in respect of whether or not it will refer the other insurance companies to Court for having contravened the Act.