With insurance companies coming under increased scrutiny from government antitrust enforcers and the plaintiff antitrust class action bar, many companies are undertaking a reassessment of their practices for compliance with antitrust laws, including many practices that the industry has followed for years. An article recently published by Tom Bush in Mealey’s Emerging Insurance Disputes addresses antitrust issues arising with joint underwriting arrangements, such as pools and binding authorities, where a single underwriter prices and accepts risks on common terms for several insurers. According to this analysis, no antitrust liability should attach to normal joint underwriting arrangements, due to the availability of certain exemptions from antitrust laws and to the correct application of the antitrust laws in the absence of those exemptions. However, companies need to be vigilant to prevent legitimate joint underwriting activities from leading to other practices that can be found to violate the antitrust laws.
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