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50.2 Proceedings conducted by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection against PZU

Annual Report 2019 > 50.2 Proceedings conducted by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection against PZU
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On 30 December 2011, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (“UOKiK”) issued a decision to impose a fine of PLN 57 million on PZU for its use of a practice restricting competition and violating the prohibition prescribed in Article 6 Section 1 Item 3 of the Act on Competition and Consumer Protection by the execution, by PZU and Maximus Broker sp. z o.o. with its registered office in Toruń (“Maximus Broker”), of an agreement restricting competition in the domestic market for sales of group accident insurance for children, youths and staff of educational institutions consisting of dividing the sales market by entity and transferring PZU’s clients from the Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship to Maximus Broker for the provision of services in exchange for their recommending PZU as the insurer of choice and at the same time prohibited PZU from the use of this alleged practice.

The PZU Management Board does not agree with the determination of facts and the legal argumentation in the decision, because not all the evidence was taken into account when making the decision and an erroneous legal qualification was made.

On 18 January 2012 PZU submitted an appeal against the aforementioned decision (as a result of which it did not become final). In its appeal, PZU indicated the following, among other issues:

  • no agreement (other than a brokerage agreement) was entered into between PZU and Maximus Broker;
  • the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection misunderstands the principles of execution of insurance agreements involving a broker;
  • the majority of insurance agreements involving Maximus Broker were entered into with insurance companies other than PZU;
  • PZU and Maximus Broker cannot and could not in the past conduct competitive activity in the markets in which they operate.

On 27 March 2015, the Regional Court in Warsaw issued a judgment in which it repealed the decision of the UOKiK President of 30 December 2011. By judgment of 6 December 2016, following an appeal of the UOKiK President, the Appellate Court in Warsaw repealed the judgment issued by the Regional Court in Warsaw and referred the case for re-examination. On 31 July 2017, the Regional Court in Warsaw issued a judgment in which it repealed the decision of the UOKiK President of 30 December 2011. On 4 October 2017, the UOKiK President filed an appeal with the Appellate Court in Warsaw. The Appellate Court in Warsaw, by its judgment of 23 January 2019, dismissed the appeal put forward by the UOKiK President. The judgment is final non-appealable. The UOKiK President has filed a cassation appeal with the Supreme Court against the final judgment, to which PZU has given its reply. The Supreme Court accepted the cassation appeal filed by the President of UOKiK for examination.

PZU held a provision for this fine, which amounted to PLN 57 million as at 31 December 2019 and 31 December 2018.