Car insurance shake-up urged

Britain’s competition watchdog has proposed a series of reforms of the car insurance industry aimed at reducing premiums for motorists, which it says are inflated by unnecessary costs. Yesterday, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) suggested measures including a cap on replacement car charges sent to the insurer of the at-fault driver after an accident. These cost consumers between £70 million (R900m) and £180m a year. Preliminary findings published in December by the CMA’s predecessor, the Competition Commission, showed car insurance in Britain was too expensive because of complexity in the claims process and a lack of incentives to cut costs. The CMA proposed a ban on “price parity” deals, in which insurers reach exclusive agreements with websites not to offer consumers lower prices elsewhere. – Reuters


Intel loses fight against fine

US chipmaker Intel yesterday lost its challenge against a record e1.06 billion (R11.4bn) EU fine handed down five years ago, as Europe’s second-highest court said regulators did not act too harshly. The European Commission in its 2009 decision said Intel tried to thwart rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) by giving rebates to Dell, Hewlett-Packard, NEC and Lenovo for buying most of their computer chips from Intel. The EU competition authority said Intel also paid German retail chain Media Saturn to stock only computers with its chips. Judges at the General Court yesterday backed the commission’s decision. “The commission demonstrated to the requisite legal standard that Intel attempted to conceal the anti-competitive nature of its practices and implemented a long-term comprehensive strategy to foreclose AMD from the strategically most important sales channels,” the court said. – Reuters