Italian Competition Authority has reportedly initiated an investigation into an alleged cartel in the automobile insurance sector.

According to a Reuters report, the anti-trust watchdog will conduct a probe on an ostensible collusion between insurance companies and insurance price comparison companies to restrict competition in the automobile insurance sector.

The investigation will include Allianz Direct, Admiral Intermediary Services, Linear, Genertel, Zurich and price comparison websites among others.

Italian Competition Authority noted in a statement that the alleged cartel shared reports enabling companies charge higher premiums from customers.

The watchdog further claimed that this collusion has been active since at least 2012 and first lockdown imposed to contain Covid-19 pandemic.

Zurich did not comment when reached by Reuters. On the other hand, price comparison website noted that it is cooperating with the regulator.

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Established in 1990, the Italian Competition Authority is an administrative independent entity which focuses on addressing unfair commercial practices, conflict of interests and misleading advertising.

The decisions taken by the body are not subject to interference by the government.

The authority includes a chairman and three members, appointed for a seven-year non-renewable term.

All decisions are taken by majority rule.

In March, it was reported that Cinven is planning to divest Italian life insurance company Eurovita.

The deal, if materialised, could fetch as much as $710m (€600m).