In the framework of its “Single Market Strategy”, the European Commission published in January 2017 a proposal for a Regulation “introducing a European Services e-Card and related administrative facilities”, together with a proposed Directive "on the legal and operational framework of the e-Card".
These proposals introduce a simplified electronic procedure for providers of business services (e.g. engineering firms, IT consultants) and construction services to complete the administrative formalities required to provide services abroad. The card would allow service providers to liaise with a single interlocutor in their home country and in their own language. According to the Commission, one of the barriers to cross-border service provision in this respect is the uncertainty regarding professional indemnity insurance cover for service providers who want to provide services cross-border.
As a result, the Commission’s proposals introduced an “insurance certificate” and a “third-party claims statement” in the framework of the Services e-Card. The proposals state that the insurance “distributor”, as defined in IDD, has to issue these documents.
BIPAR views and action
BIPAR does not support the linkage of a Services e-Card with an insurance certificate / claims statement. European services sectors are not yet harmonised enough in terms of regulations and this would possibly create many misunderstandings and problems. Intermediaries can engineer ad-hoc, individual, tailor-made solutions for most of the cases. BIPAR also believes clarification is needed that the “insurance certificate” or the “claims statement” are provided by the insurer (or insurers or their representatives) and “handed over” or “delivered” by the distributor.Indeed, only the insurer can produce such documents.
In general, the Commission's proposals have been received rather critically across the different sectors that are touched by it.
BIPAR and its members have continued to be active in this file, participating in a stakeholder meeting organised at the Economic and Social Committee premises, liaising with the main Rapporteurs at Parliament level and also participating in joint action with the insurance social dialogue partners.
The Rapporteur of the leading EP IMCO committee followed BIPAR’s reasoning and removed the word “distributor”, replacing it by “insurer” in her draft report. In March 2018, the IMCO committee, however, rejected the entire proposals of the Commission, thus following the suggestion for rejection by 3 of the opinion committees (ECON, JURI and ITRE).
The Council of the EU has not yet agreed on its position regarding these proposals.
With their vote for rejection, MEPs have kept open the option of either starting anew at a later stage or waiting for the position of the Council before deciding on any concrete follow-up, i.e. adopting a new report for the rejection of the current proposals or seeking a compromise to amend them.