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India's competition tribunal imposes penalties on 4 insurance firms

India's Competition Appellate Tribunal imposed penalties on four insurance companies for engaging in anti-competitive practices.

The commission imposed penalties on National Insurance Co. Ltd., New India Assurance Co. Ltd., Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. and United India Insurance Co. Ltd., according to a Dec. 9 release.

The Competition Appellate Tribunal said the insurance companies manipulated the bidding process in regard to the comprehensive health insurance scheme initiated by the state government of Kerala.

The commission decided to investigate after receiving an anonymous letter in 2013 that claimed the four companies had formed a cartel and increased premiums for the health insurance scheme. The investigation found that the companies had discussed the bid price for the scheme.

The commission had initially decided on a rate penalty of 2% against its average turnover over three years from 2010 to 2013. However, the commission recognized that the burden of penalty will ultimately be transferred to the public and as such reduced the penalty to 1% of the turnover for the relevant period.

Under the new computation, the penalties amount to 15.6 million rupees for United India Insurance, 2 million rupees for National Insurance and New India Assurance, and 400,000 rupees for Oriental Insurance.

As of Dec. 9, US$1 was equivalent to 67.52 Indian rupees.