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BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Although the directives established to create a single European insurance market were adopted in 1994, not all member countries have fully adopted and implemented the measures.
Spain is the only member state that to date has failed to notify the European Commission how it intends to implement the Third Non-Life and Life Insurance Directives.
In addition, parts of the directives have not been implemented in France, Belgium and Finland, according to a memo the commission recently released on the single market.
The European Commission already has referred Spain to the European Court of Justice for its failure to implement the directives and has begun several infringement proceedings for incorrect application of the directives against other member states, the memo notes.
The commission has notified France that its implementation of the directives is incomplete. The items in violation, the memo says, are: a failure to apply the directives to mutual societies offering insurance in France; a French requirement that regulators receive prior notification of policy conditions; and a requirement that insurance policies underwritten in France be drafted exclusively in French, without taking into consideration policies covering large risks or cases when applicable law may not be French law.
Notification also has been sent to Belgium because Belgian legislation excludes insurance for workplace accidents from compliance with the E.C. directives. The commission considers these risks covered by the directive when they are insured by private insurance companies, as opposed to state-run compensation schemes. The commission cited a similar problem with Finland's regulation of private workers comp coverage.
The Commission also has advised Germany that its amended social legislation indirectly violates the non-life directive.
The German amendment allows an employee to benefit from health insurance contributions paid by his employer only if the insurance company solely underwrites health insurance.
In all the infringement cases, the commission's objective is to ensure conformity with European Union law as rapidly as possible, and -- apart from Spain's situation -- problems can often be resolved through discussions with member states before the case reaches the Court of Justice, the memo notes.