Major vehicle insurers fined for price fixing

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Officials from the Ministry of Industry and Trade fined 19 insurers for colluding to raise vehicle insurance fees on Thursday.


Among them are Vietnam's leading insurers Bao Viet and Bao Minh, the insurance body of Vietnam's largest lender Agribank and the Bank of Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).


Bach Van Mung, head of the Competition Administration Department of the ministry, said the insurers will be fined 0.025 percent of their total proceeds in 2007.


In September 2008, 15 insurers signed an agreement to raise vehicle insurance fees, the Ministry has charged. Four others joined the agreement two weeks later.


Several customers and other insurers said the 19 insurers made an agreement to raise the fees and limit the competition.


Officials from the ministry concluded that the insurers violated the competition limit law when they sign in the agreement.


"Of the 25 companies offering vehicle insurance at the time, the 19 insurers accounted for 99.79 percent of the market segment. Thus their cooperation has violated the competition limit law," Mung said.


Dinh Trung Tung, an official from the Competition Administration Department, said the act of the 19 insurers have caused negative impacts on vehicle insurance market in Vietnam.


Trung said the penalty won't be reduced as the act was conducted under an agreement.


The insurers have been given 30 days to pay the fine or complain to higher authorities.

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