April 2013

Spotlight – In international business, almost every market around the world does things in a different way. This often leads to misunderstandings and unfulfilled expectations. However, different does not need to mean difficult and knowledge of the needs and characteristics of specific geographic markets is an advantage to those who are active in the global economy. These articles help you understand different aspects of the insurance industry around the world, enabling those who do business there to feel more “at home, abroad.”

Recently, the European Court of Justice handed down a ruling in a case between the European Commission and the Kingdom of Belgium. The judgement focussed on cases where an insurer has no place of business in an EU country but provides services there. At issue was whether an insurer must appoint a representative, residing in that country, who must assume responsibility for paying the annual tax on insurance contracts, interest and fines which may be due in respect of contracts relating to risks situated in that country only after said insurer has received authorisation to provide services in that country. Quite apart from the issue of Freedom of Services and non-admitted policies covering risks in other countries, who really knows what are the fiscal and parafiscal taxes on premiums in Belgium, or for that matter, the rest of the EU as well as countries in the European Economic Area and also Croatia and Switzerland?

Insurance Europe has heard the call and in March this year a booklet entitled “Indirect taxation on insurance contracts in Europe” was published. This publication fills in a lot of gaps in many people’s understanding of additional costs involved with insurance. We are very pleased that information like this is easily available and are grateful to Insurance Europe (http://www.insuranceeurope.eu/) for their permission to provide the following link: http://www.insuranceeurope.eu/uploads/Modules/Publications/indirect-taxation-on-insurance-contracts-in-europe—2013.pdf Should you have any comments or questions, kindly address them to Mrs Janina Clark, Head of Communications and PR at clark@insuranceeurope.eu