OLD Mutual Short-Term Insurance Company (Namibia) Limited (OMSIC), has entered into settlement agreements with the Namibian Competition Commission (NCC) in which it will have to fork out N$ 6 million to resolve litigation in respect of two High Court claims instituted by the Commission against OMSIC.
The first investigation revealed that the insurer entered into exclusive agreements with contracted windscreen retailers, which amount to limiting market access or outlets, as well as applied dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions. An amount of N$2.2 million was imposed on OMSIC of which N$1 600 000.00 serves as a pecuniary penalty and an additional amount of N$600 000.00 for purposes of covering part of the Commission’s costs arising from its Investigation.
In the second investigation the Commission found OMSIC to have engaged in the setting of mark-ups that the panel beaters should charge for repairs of vehicles insured by OMSIC as well as the setting of maximum rates that panel beaters should charge for their labour.
SETTLING ITS DUES: Ashanti Manetti, the Acting Executive of Marketing, Transformation and Customer Strategy at Old Mutual Namibia. Photo: Old Mutual.
An amount of N$3.8 million was imposed on OMSIC, apportioned as a pecuniary penalty of N$2 800 000.00 and an additional amount of N$1 000 000.00 for purposes of covering part of the Commission’s costs arising from its investigation.
Dina Gowases, the spokesperson of NCC stated that the Commission’s investigation found that Old Mutual contravened section 23(1) read with sections 23(2)(b) and 23(3)(e) and 23(3)(f) of the Competition Act by entering into exclusive agreements with contracted windscreen retailers, which amount to limiting market access or outlets, and applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions.
Old Mutual has admitted to the above conduct and agreed to pay a total settlement amount in the sum of N$6 million, which covers the Competition Commissions investigation costs as well.
The insurance company has also stated that it has ceased the aforementioned conduct and shall take all necessary steps to ensure that it does not engage in this conduct in future.
In addition to the above, the Old Mutual will develop and implement a compliance programme on competition law in Namibia to ensure that its employees, management, directors or any other party acting on its behalf does not engage in any conduct that is prohibited in terms of the Act.
Ashanti Manetti, the Acting Executive of Marketing, Transformation and Customer Strategy at Old Mutual Namibia, stated that the insurance company has followed all legal procedures as set out in the Competition Act and has fully cooperated with the Commission throughout its investigations.
Due consideration having been made to the potential outcomes in these matters, OMSIC believes that settling the matters outside of court proceedings is in the best interest of all stakeholders, Manetti said.
“As a responsible business always acting in the best interest of our customers, we remain committed to ensure good governance, whilst strengthening our processes with increased focus on our customers, our environment, and communities in which we operate. OMSIC has further committed to following the subsequent procedures as set out in the Competition Act,” Manetti concluded.