BREXIT & INSURERS IN THE NEWS
Insurers warned of risks to not completing Brexit plans – February 19, 2017
One of London’s most senior insurance executives has warned that the industry may struggle to complete its Brexit preparations before the UK leaves the EU. Mark Weil, UK chief executive of insurance broker Marsh, said a risk exists that some in the industry will be “timed out” as they try to set up new operations in other parts of the EU. Large parts of London’s £60bn commercial insurance market use EU passporting rights to access continental European markets.
U.K. Seeks to Limit Post-Brexit Trade Pain – February 17, 2017
The U.K. is already putting out feelers about its future trading relations outside the European Union, which for more than 40 years has handled the country’s trade arrangements with the rest of the world.
The message British officials are delivering is one of a government committed to minimizing disruption to trade. As part of that, the U.K. is testing reaction to the idea that it will replicate the EU’s current schedule of tariffs to the rest of the world.
Brexit may end covered agreement benefits: AM Best – February 15, 2017
Lloyd’s of London may lose any benefits from the EU-US covered agreement unless the UK negotiates a similar deal, AM Best has warned.
In a report assessing the impact of regulatory and political changes on insurers, the ratings agency said a reduction in capital restrictions could result in re/insurance rate increases and the intensification of competition.
Highlighting a market awash with capital, AM Best underlined the downward pressure the elimination of transatlantic restrictions could cause: “In a market flush with abundant capacity, the elimination of these restrictions could result in more pressure on rates and/or terms and conditions from the increased competition.”
UK Poll: 58% of Business Leaders Cite Negative Effects From Brexit – February 7, 2017
LONDON - More than half of the United Kingdom’s top business leaders believe the country’s decision to leave the European Union has already begun to produce negative effects, according to polling firm Ipsos MORI.
In its annual Captains of Industry study, 58% said their businesses had already suffered from planned withdrawal. “Brexit” was approved by the referendum of June 23, 2016, when 52% of voters favored pulling out of the EU. The Ipsos MORI poll drew on responses from leaders of FTSE 500 companies.
A bumpy Brexit may shrink the UK re/insurance hub – January 25, 2017
The UK re/insurance market is likely to shrink due to the UK’s exit from the European Union as companies reorganize their operations to ensure access to the EU common market. Nevertheless, London is likely to remain an important re/insurance centre after the country exits the EU.
This seems to be the consensus of commentators and experts in the re/insurance sector at the moment, all trying to second-guess both the exact nature of the UK’s exit from the EU and its implications for one of the most important sectors to the UK economy.
Insurers are already assessing financial centres including Dublin, Paris, Frankfurt and Luxembourg, as well as other locations where they have branch operations, according to a January 19 AM Best report titled “Brexit Uncertainties Weigh on UK Insurers but Rated Entities Able to Withstand Pressure”.
Brexit Solvency II equivalency likely: AM Best – January 20, 2017
The UK is likely to be granted Solvency II equivalency after leaving the European Union, according to AM Best.
In a special report examining the effect of Brexit on insurers, the ratings agency warned that without equivalency reinsurers may have to post collateral to support business in Europe.
However, the strong reputation of the UK's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) makes it likely an equivalency agreement will be put in place, AM Best suggested.
Unfettered EU Access Must Be Priority of Brexit Talks –January 10, 2017
Britain’s financial services sector must keep its unfettered access to the European Union’s single market after Brexit given that available alternatives don’t provide a sustainable long-term solution, an industry report said on Tuesday.
Currently, they use an “EU passport” allowing them to operate across the 28-nation bloc from a base in Britain.
The International Regulatory Strategy Group, made up of financial and professional services firms operating in Britain, said the sector should be “prioritized in the forthcoming negotiations” given its importance to Britain’s economy.
More UK Insurers Consider Move to Ireland for Europe HQs: Central Bank– December 15, 2016
A growing number of global insurers are considering moving to Ireland and some may choose to locate European headquarters there rather than Britain following that country’s vote to leave the European Union, Ireland’s central bank said on Thursday.
Ireland is one of a handful of European countries that may benefit from companies moving away from Britain as it leaves the EU, and the central bank has said it has seen a notable increase in queries from financial services firms.
Insurers are reliant on so-called passporting rights to sell insurance policies throughout the EU and several have said they will need to set up EU subsidiaries if Britain loses access to the bloc’s single market.
Another London insurer eyes Dublin as Brexit looms – December 15, 2016
Neon Underwriting Ltd. may set up a Dublin business to sell insurance policies throughout the European Union if Britain loses access to the single market, chief executive of the specialist Lloyd’s of London insurer said on Thursday.
Ireland’s central bank said on Thursday that an increasing number of global insurance groups are considering moving to Ireland.
As Brexit Looms, Irish Regulator Promises Applicants a ‘Rigorous Process’ – December 2, 2016
LONDON - Citing a surge of interest in Ireland from U.K.-based financial services firms concerned about their place in a post-Brexit Britain, the Irish regulator has warned applicants to “expect a rigorous process” in Ireland.
“Since the U.K. referendum, there has been a material increase in the number of authorization queries from U.K.-authorized entities,” Cyril Roux, deputy governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, told the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin.
London Insurer Group Puts Access to Europe at Top of Brexit List – November 30, 2016
LONDON - As it prepares for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, the International Underwriting Association is focusing on trying to save the British insurance industry’s access to the single market.
“Members of the association’s Legal and Regulatory Committee believe it is vital to maintain existing freedoms for insurance services,” the IUA said in a statement. “Any trade agreement between the U.K. and EU should first preserve passporting and branching arrangements and recognize the equivalence of regulatory regimes.”
UK insurers in talks with Ireland’s regulator for relocation – November 28, 2016
Insurance companies that are looking to move operations from the UK due to Brexit are reportedly in talks with the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) for possible relocation.
The CBI, which regulates Ireland’s insurance industry, is already dealing with enquiries from UK insurers, according to Sylvia Cronin, the bank’s director of insurance supervision.
Ireland’s central bank boosts staff for Brexit insurers –November 27, 2016
Ireland’s insurance regulator has increased its staff numbers by more than a quarter ahead of an expected influx of applications from London-based insurers looking to move operations following the Brexit vote.
London-based insurers are looking at options if the UK loses so-called “passporting” rights after Brexit that allow them to operate elsewhere in Europe, including relocation of some of their operations. Last week AIG became the latest insurer to warn it was considering moving its European base away from London.
Swiss Re Chief Economist: London Should Survive Brexit as Insurance Hub – November 18, 2016
Kurt Karl, chief economist at Swiss Re, said London’s robust insurance market, expertise, legal framework and regulatory environment should help it retain a competitive edge, assuming the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. Questions remain about access to European markets and the ability of professionals to move among markets.
With Brexit, UK Government Should ‘Refine Not Replace’ Solvency II: Insurers – November 17, 2016
Rather than replacing Solvency II entirely when the UK leaves the European Union, regulators need to refine EU’s insurance regulation to make it more appropriate for the UK market and customers, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Following more than 10 years of implementation, costing more than £3 billion ($3.7 billion), or the equivalent of £140 ($174.40) per insured household, the ABI noted Solvency II is broadly fit-for-purpose for the UK market and there is no appetite from its members to withdraw from or completely replace it. (The ABI offered its comments in response to the UK Treasury Select Committee inquiry into Solvency II.)
If the government begins the divorce process in March as promised, that could mean banks start moving in late 2017.
Banks Likely to Lose Passporting With Brexit, Official Says – October 26, 2016
Global banks will probably lose their current legal rights to provide services in the European Union after Brexit, the U.K.’s trade minister said in the most detailed outline yet of the government’s thinking.
Passporting, which allows London-based lenders and insurance companies to sell their services anywhere in the single market, is unlikely to continue after the U.K. leaves the 28-nation bloc, Mark Garnier said in an interview. He added that an alternative system that’s been floated, known as equivalence, was probably not going to be "good enough" for banks.
Garnier, who is also government envoy for financial services, instead touted a better version of equivalence that might work well for London-based banks. The drawback is that Britain may have to accept all future EU regulations as they are handed down from Brussels, he said. Resentment toward EU bureaucracy and a backlash against immigration were drivers behind the June referendum.
UK Employers Downbeat About Economy, Hiring After Brexit Vote: Poll – October 26, 2016
The number of British firms that are confident about the economy halved after the Brexit vote, with larger firms and those in regions which voted to stay in the EU more downbeat than those in areas that backed Leave, a survey showed.
A survey published by Lloyds Bank last month showed business confidence in July slumped in areas that voted to remain in the EU, while it bucked the countrywide trend to increase in Wales and other leave-voting areas.
U.S. Chamber lays out Brexit priorities, risks to UK, European officials - October 21, 2016
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has formally weighed in on the impending Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and European Union, warning officials of both governments that failure to provide attention to the Chamber's seven priorities will have significant economic downsides for the UK, EU and the United States.
One of the Chamber's priority deals with U.S. financial services companies operating out of the UK; the group wants those companies to retain their ability to provide services to customers in Europe after Brexit. Maintaining this arrangement, known as “passporting,” is also a central objective of the American Insurance Association, AIA director of international affairs Steve Simchak told Inside U.S. Trade this week.
7 Things the U.S. Business Community Wants from Brexit Negotiations - October 20, 2016
As Prime Minister Theresa May participates in her first EU leaders’ summit, this release seven key things the U.S. business community would encourage the UK to prioritize as it considers its economic future vis-à-vis Europe.
UK Insurer Group Maps Effects of EU on Sector - October 11, 2016
LONDON - In an assessment of the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union, the Association of British Insurers has pointed to “around 80 pieces of EU legislation” that have had notable effects on the nonlife insurance and long-term savings sectors.
British Financial Industry Tallies Lost Jobs, Revenue from ‘Hard Brexit’ - October 5, 2016
Britain’s financial industry could lose up to 38 billion pounds ($48.34 billion) in revenue in a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ that would leave it with restricted access to the European Union’s single market, according to a report commissioned by an industry group.
If finance firms lose the right to freely sell their services across Europe, 75,000 jobs may disappear and the government may lose up to 10 billion pounds in tax revenue, the report by consultancy firm Oliver Wyman said.
The study is one of the first to outline the impact on financial services of Britain’s vote in June to leave the EU.
Britain’s Financial Sector Fears Damage from Brexit Lobbying Squabbles - October 3, 2016
Large banks in Britain have clashed with other parts of the financial sector about who should be leading efforts to lobby the government over Brexit.
Failing to present a united front could be damaging as the industry, Britain’s largest export sector and biggest source of tax revenue, fights to retain access to Europe’s single market.
There is growing speculation that the sector, which includes retail banks, asset managers, insurers and investment banks, will lose rights as the British government negotiates its exit from the European Union.
FIO: Brexit Effect on Investments Elevates Concerns for Life Insurance Industry – September 30, 2016
The report represents FIO’s summary of insurance developments at the state, federal and international levels over the last year as well as a look at the challenges ahead. Concerns over the current low interest rates were piqued by the Brexit vote, the report said.
“Brexit has elevated global concerns in the insurance industry about the risks of low interest rates,” the report said, “particularly as Brexit-imposed heightened volatility and uncertainty in financial markets may exacerbate the continuing protracted low- and negative-interest rate environment.”
UK Financial Sector’s Optimism Plunges in Wake of Brexit Vote - September 27, 2016
Optimism about the outlook for Britain’s financial services sector is at its lowest point since the financial crisis, a survey of finance firms showed on Monday.
The latest survey of 115 financial services firms by business lobby CBI [Confederation of British Industry] and consultancy PwC found that optimism fell during the three months to September, the third quarter in a row that it has dropped, marking the longest decline since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009.
Over half of all financial firms surveyed said the general impact of Britain’s Brexit vote was negative, with only one in ten firms seeing any upside.
More than 3/4s of UK CEOs Mull Moving Headquarters as Result of Brexit: KPMG - September 26, 2016
The U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union has left more than three-quarters of chief executive officers saying they would consider moving their headquarters or operations outside Britain, according to a survey of 100 business leaders by the accountancy firm KPMG.
Some 72 percent of the CEOs surveyed said they voted “Remain” in the June 23 Brexit referendum, KPMG said on Monday in an e-mailed statement. While more than two-thirds said they’re confident Britain’s economy and their own companies will continue to grow over the next year, 76 percent are mulling some form of relocation.”
Lloyd’s Chairman Discusses Move to Onshore Market in India, Importance of Brexit - September 20, 2016
In a new interview with AM Best, John Nelson, chairman of Lloyd’s, discusses the impact of Brexit on Lloyd’s and the insurance sector generally. He states that “It’s not a huge issue for Lloyd’s but it’s important. It’s important that we do maintain access to the EU single market.” He is “more optimistic” that passporting rights will be granted to the UK because third countries depend on passporting to access the UK just as the UK uses passporting to access the EU.
‘Significant’ Brexit risk for 5,500 UK groups using EU passporting - September 20, 2016
The UK’s financial regulator revealed today that 5,500 UK-registered companies rely on “passporting” to do business in Europe, and more than 8,000 financial services companies in the EU rely on passporting to do business in the UK, highlighting the risks to interconnected global financial markets from Brexit.
There are growing fears in the financial services industry that when the UK leaves the EU, it will lose the passporting rights that allow financial services companies licensed in one EU state to provide services across Europe, rather than having to obtain licenses from each country’s government. However, the reliance of EU-based firms on passporting to do business in the UK also suggests that the EU has “as much to lose from restricting UK access to the single market.”
As Brexit Looms, U.K. Parliament Looks at Insurance Regulation – September 19, 2016
The House of Commons Treasury Select Committee has announced an investigation into the implications of Brexit, and the effects of Solvency II that was implemented at the start of 2016.
"Brexit provides an opportunity for the United Kingdom to assume greater control of insurance regulation," said Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the committee. In outlining its plans for the investigation, the committee said, "Brexit provides the opportunity to leave the Solvency II arrangement, and that doing so would help insurance companies. This inquiry will explore the impacts of the directive, and the options now available to the United Kingdom in more detail."
QBE Brexit Study Warns UK Insurers of Doubled-Edged Disruption – September 12, 2016
As the United Kingdom anticipates “an intense and prolonged period of negotiation” over the details of its departure from the European Union, its insurance sector should prepare for doubled-edged disruption, according to QBE Business Insurance.
While the U.K. government can be expected to try to retain the “passporting” rights of British insurers in the EU, QBE suggested in a report, “Countdown to Brexit,” that British politicians might be able to leverage the desire of EU countries to retain access to the U.K. market.
QBE said it does not see an immediate effect from Brexit on short-term insurance policies, including compulsory motor and employers’ liability cover. There will be enough time to update these policies during the negotiating period, the report said.
Lloyd’s Chairman: Brexit Could Bring Shift of Insurance Business to EU – September 7, 2016
In an expression of unease at the uncertainty that has entered the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, Lloyd’s Chairman John Nelson has warned that Lloyd’s might be forced to establish European operations in order to safeguard its presence in that market.
“If we are not able to access the single market, either through passporting rights or other means, the inevitable consequences for Lloyd’s — and indeed other insurance organizations — will be that we will transact the business onshore in the EU,” Nelson told the annual Lloyd’s City Dinner.
Nelson compared Lloyd’s determination to retain access to the EU market to its successful efforts to establish itself in the world’s emerging economies through its long-term strategic plan known as Vision 2025. He mentioned China, where half of Lloyd’s syndicates have a physical presence; and India, where Lloyd’s has gained market entry.
“Lloyd’s — as I have said — is the most-global British organization,” Nelson said. “We are not simply Lloyd’s of London; we are Lloyd’s. We are local to the territories and cities we now operate in.”
Lloyd’s, Nelson said, is working with the U.K. government “at every level” to get the best possible post-Brexit arrangement. “The Brexit negotiations will require joined-up government — and decisive government,” he said. “I need hardly say that excessive delay or mixed messaging will render our position more difficult than it already is.”
How U.S. Businesses In Europe Are Already Planning For Brexit – September 1, 2016
The United Kingdom's planned split from the European Union is expected to take years, but it's already creating uncertainty for multinational companies operating in the U.K., including many American firms. Brexit also poses challenges to the U.S. government, as Washington ponders a future in which a key ally has less influence in Europe and likely becomes less relevant on the global stage.
Even before the June referendum, American and other financial firms were looking beyond the City of London — the Wall Street-equivalent at the core of Britain's capital — for new office space in Europe.
The outlook for the financial industry is a bit darker. Currently, firms in the City of London can freely offer a variety of financial services throughout the EU under what are called "passporting" rights. Many analysts expect at least some of those rights will disappear after Brexit.
Brexit Vote Prompts Inquiries from Insurers Weighing Opening Offices in Dublin – August 31, 2016
Ireland says the Brexit vote has led to a jump in inquiries from London firms considering opening offices in Dublin, one of a handful of European cities trying to draw business away from Britain’s financial center.
Irish officials say they have had more than 35 concrete inquiries from financial groups looking at setting up a base or expanding in Ireland, which is recovering after near bankruptcy in the financial crash.
“Post-Brexit, it’s meant a lot more meetings, more phone calls and a lot more travel,” said Eoghan Murphy, the minister tasked with promoting Ireland as a financial center. “I’m in daily contact with different players in the industry.”
Financial companies based in London are concerned that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union will stop them selling products in the bloc. EU member Ireland’s tax regime makes it an attractive alternative.
London Financial Groups Losing Faith in Quick Fix to Get EU Access After Brexit – August 31, 2016
Big financial groups in London are losing faith in a quick fix to get access to the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc and are instead drawing up contingency plans to avoid becoming hostage to Brussels politics.
In the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the EU, legal experts said banks, insurers and asset managers in London using so-called EU passports allowing them to sell services across the bloc should keep their access because regulations in Britain would be equivalent to those within the trading zone.
But many in the City of London, Europe’s biggest financial center, are having second thoughts about relying on such an equivalency fix as it will be Brussels not Britain that decides whether the rules are the same.
Having equivalent rules is a condition for market access and Britain would almost certainly comply on Day One of Brexit, simply because it would have been enforcing EU-wide financial services regulations up to that point.
But what worries financial firms is that equivalence could, in theory, be withdrawn by Brussels at a month’s notice, which is an element of risk some are not prepared to shoulder.
Will Brexit deal suit the City of London? – August 19, 2016
The City of London and the UK's financial services industry, like the rest of the economy, remains part of the EU's single market.
Although the market is not quite as smooth and borderless for financial services as it is for, say, manufacturing, the City has been pretty happy with that deal.
Not least because an awful lot of international banks and other businesses have set up their European headquarters in London to take advantage of "passporting".
That means that if a company is regulated in one EU country, it can do business in any other given it has a passport to do business anywhere in the EU.
There are, of course, plenty of business leaders in financial services who think the UK can now prosper even better outside the EU. But as an industry, the City lost the argument at the ballot box and it is now debating what deal the UK government can negotiate to ensure its future.
Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU – August 10, 2016
What does Brexit mean?
Why is Britain leaving the European Union?
What happens now?
Who is going to negotiate Britain's exit from the EU?
This BBC Guide answers these questions and more. It is designed to be an easy-to-understand guide on what happens now that the UK has voted to leave the European Union.
Debevoise & Plimpton-“Brexit for Re/Insurers”-August 1, 2016
One month on from the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum, we reflect on the current knowns and unknowns and take stock of the likely medium- to long-term impacts on the insurance industry.
We set out the key planning and practical steps that re/insurance companies could be taking now, including in respect of capital requirements, investment strategy and the transferability of contracts for restructuring purposes.
The Insurance Insider-August 1, 2016
The spectre of Brexit continues to cast its shadow across the (re)insurance industry in the UK, after Lloyd’s was forced to postpone the launch of its index of loss performance as a result of the UK vote to leave the European Union.
Elsewhere, the British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) felt the need to issue a candid warning about the challenges the insurance industry will face if the UK loses its EU passporting rights as a result of Brexit.
The lobbying group is concerned that removing access to the single market would limit the industry’s ability to attract customers and reduce the number of EU insurers operating in the UK marketplace, damaging levels of competition.
The wider issue of talent, and concerns that Brexit could see a drop-off in European staff working for UK carriers and brokers, was also highlighted, with Biba stressing the importance of ensuring freedom of movement for UK citizens and EU staff currently employed here.
Best’s Insurance News & Analysis-“Brexit a Key Concern for Broker’s Clients”-July 28, 2016
The economic impact of Britain’s decision to exit the European Union tops a list of issues for clients of Marsh & McLennan Cos. as the insurance brokerage group boosts its consultancy efforts, according to the company’s chief executive officer.
Brexit can have an impact on MMC’s own operations, including its role in the London insurance market, said Glaser. “London is the global center of insurance and in our view, is likely to remain so in a post-Brexit world,” he said. “While underwriters will adapt over time, our geographic footprint in every EU country offers us the ability to serve clients regardless of where they are located or do business.”
Glaser noted outside the United Kingdom, MMC has more than 127 offices throughout the other 27 EU member country, and operates through subsidiaries rather than branches. He added this allows MMC to help clients avoid disruption around pricing, terms and conditions and access to capital.
Financial Times-“AIG Launches Brexit Insurance”-July 28, 2016
AIG, the US-based insurer, will this week launch an add-on to its directors & officers liability coverage that will add various costs associated with Brexit to its insurance.
The new terms include help for EU nationals wanting to become permanent residents in the UK. If their applications for residency are rejected, AIG will cover the costs of a legal challenge.
AIG will also cover the legal costs of a challenge to a repatriation order and, if the challenge is unsuccessful, the insurer will also pay for repatriation costs. The cover will also apply to UK nationals living in the EU.
American Enterprise Institute-“Brexit and Economic Competition”-July 27,2016
A flatter world should make competition between national governments increasingly similar to the competition between smaller communities, providing the world’s citizens with an insurance policy against the out-of-control growth of massive and inefficient bureaucracies. That’s the theory. But, as Brexit indicates, the European Union (EU) has instead often acted as a cartel to harmonize policies across member states. The good news? A competition-stiffing EU seems destined to fail.
Insurance Journal—“UK Financial Services Firms ‘Will Retain’ EU Passporting Rights: Foreign Secreatry—July 25, 2016
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Friday he expects the U.K. to retain the right for its financial firms to sell services across European Union member states after Britain’s exit from the bloc.
Johnson, speaking to reporters in New York about Britain’s business and investment environment, also said Britain has been approached by several countries interested in trade deals after U.K. voters chose last month in a referendum to secede from the European Union.
The National Law Review-“Brexit: Potential Implications for Privacy”-June 25, 2016
One area of concern, among many, is privacy and data protection. The UK’s current data protection regime was structured to comply with the guidelines set out by Directive 95/46/EC, commonly known as the EU Data Directive, which establishes certain baseline standards EU Member States must adopt as laws in order to protect personal data.
However, now that the UK is set to leave the EU, these EU-wide data protection measures may no longer apply in the UK.
Bird & Bird-“Brexit: Data Protection and Cyber Security Law Implications”-June 24, 2016
Even though the UK has voted to leave the European Union (EU), UK organisations are likely to face a data protection and cyber security law landscape heavily influenced by EU laws for the foreseeable future.
The United Kingdom’s “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016 has led to far more questions than answers about how U.S. insurers will be impacted. London is one of the great insurance and reinsurance hubs of the globe. Potential issues related to Brexit run a spectrum from the loss of passporting rights to tax changes to more difficulty moving insurance professionals across borders, among many others. As the process moves forward, AIA is monitoring the enormous amount of analysis of the impact of Brexit on insurers and posting what we feel are the most informative “must reads” for those in the U.S. insurance industry tracking Brexit developments.
Ben Tomchik, Public Affairs Director
Steve Simchak, Director of International Affairs