Trustbuster Raids Loss Adjusters

Antitrust Authority investigators raided the offices of the Israel Loss Adjusters Association (Igud Hashamaeim) yesterday, seeking evidence of illegal collusion on setting fees.

The investigators seized documents and arrested a number of top managers, including association chairman Ezra Shoham.

The trustbuster is looking into allegations that the association directed its members not to charge clients less than a certain minimum fee. Such a directive would be a violation of antitrust law.

During the last four months, the Antitrust Authority has launched a broad investigation into a number of professional guilds, including the Israel Association of Contractors and Builders and the Travel Agents Association, on suspicion of similar offenses. All the investigations are still in process.

In another case, the Antitrust Authority prohibited the International Air Transport Association from abusing its automated ticketing and clearing system to force travel agents to comply with its terms, News First Class reported last week. Travel agents had been complaining that the association was behaving like a cartel, by disconnecting errant agents from its system, causing them financial damage.

The law prohibits guild members from impairing competition by colluding on prices.