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Spain fines insurance groups over price fixing

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Spain’s competition regulator Thursday fined six insurance and reinsurance companies a record 120.7 million euros (179 million dollars) for alleged price-fixing in the construction sector.

The National Competition Commission said Spain’s Asefa, which specialises in construction insurance, received the heaviest fine of 27.76 million euros.

Swiss Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurers, was ordered to pay 22.64 million, Spain’s Mapfre 21.63 million and France’s Scor 18.59 million, Germany’s Munich Re 15.86 million and Caser of Spain 14.2 million.

They were accused of forming a cartel to fix prices in 10-year insurance policies covering defects in the construction of residential buildings between 2002 and 2007, during Spain’s property boom which ended last year.

Mapfre expressed its “absolute disagreement” with the “disproportionate” fine, and said it plans to appeal.