In January 2013, the European Commission set up the Commission Expert Group on a European Insurance Contract Law. The task of that Group was ‘to assist the Commission in examining whether differences in contract laws pose an obstacle to cross-border trade in insurance products’ and to ‘identify the insurance areas which are likely to be particularly affected by those obstacles’. This decision and the report of that Expert Group which was finalized in January 2014 and published on the website of the European Commission in February 2014 signal a further step in a development which may ultimately lead to the adoption of a European Insurance Contract Law. Wherever we shall end up, this development is undoubtedly of the utmost significance for the insurance industry and for the users of insurance products in the European Union and possibly beyond. While we are certainly not expecting any fundamental changes within the next one or two years, an international symposium such as this one should also take account of the long-term perspective of the whole market. That is why the topic was put on the agenda of the Congress.
The following paper will start from the antecedents of the EU legislation on the Single Insurance Market (infra 1) to make you aware of the gradual and long-term nature of the change that is under way. Part 2 will outline the rise of the present initiative from a new paradigm, i.e. the movement towards a European contract law. The following parts of the paper will look into the mandate of the Expert Group (infra 3) and into the interests involved of the various market participants, as mirrored by the Group’s composition (infra 4). I shall then turn to the findings of the report (infra 5), before drawing some conclusions for the future development.
Basedow, Jürgen, Towards a European Insurance Contract Law? The Commission Expert Group, its Antecedents and Consequences (September 22, 2015). Contratto e impresa / Europa, Vol 20, No 1, pp 1-17, 2015; Max Planck Private Law Research Paper No 15/18.