The European Commission (the " Commission") yesterday released its final report into the provision of insurance products and services to businesses in the EU (the " Report"). The Business Insurance Sector Inquiry (the " Inquiry") was launched in June 2005 in parallel with the Retail Banking Sector Inquiry. The aim of the Inquiry was to identify restrictive practices or distortions of competition that might fall within the scope of Articles 81 or 82 of the Treaty. The Report confirms the importance of the insurance sector, and in particular emphasises that "the functioning of this industry in a pro-competitive way is not only crucial for the insurance industry as such, but for the economy as a whole." Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes also confirmed that "Today’s report shows

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