A fresh defeat has caused more uncertainty for the insurance industry 

The ABI has responded another of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal defeats in Parliament yesterday.

It warned that failure to agree a deal with Brexit only adds further uncertainty to both the insurance industry and its customers.

It follows May’s Brexit withdrawal deal being defeated for the second time in two months, with the UK’s leave date less than two weeks away.

Huw Evans, director general at the ABI said that the result was “very worrying”.

He added: “It is vital that decisive action is taken to avoid a no-deal Brexit this week. If the only alternative to no deal is some form of short delay to Brexit, then delay we should.”

In February Evans voiced his concerns at the firm’s annual dinner In London highlighting that Britain has a £16.7bn export surplus, with more than a third going to the EU.

Jennette Newman, partner, Clyde & Co and president at London FOIL, said: “London market insurers have made extensive contingency plans to allow them to continue to service their clients in Europe, regulators across the continent have given a lot of reassurance, and a number of member states have passed legislation to ensure that legacy claims can be paid; but this situation is far from ideal.

“Businesses thrive on certainty and this is most certainly the opposite.”

At the beginning of the year, Biba launched its 2019 manifesto which included supporting brokers with Brexit as one of the main objectives.

Graeme Trudgill executive director at Biba, added: ”Yesterday’s vote rejecting the latest withdrawal proposal simply adds to the uncertainty of the situation. We will be watching closely what happens next as it appears probable that tonight’s vote will result in agreement not to leave the EU without a deal and we will then need to know what if any extension to the 29 March leave date is sought which of course will require EU approval.

”Our members do need answers especially where they have clients based in, or travelling to the EU who need certainly over their cover.”

Meanwhile Premium Credit warned that a no-deal Brexit could see SMEs without insurance face breaking the law. 

Brexit moves

The impending departure date has seen many firms move offices in a bid to deal with this.

In January this year AXA XL transferred its EU arm – XL Insurance Company SE (XLICSE) to Dublin to avoid business disruption with its clients.

In July last year Hiscox planned to transfer all of its cross-border contracts to Luxembourg.

RSA, Tokio Marine, Liberty and AIG have all made progress in moving to Luxembourg, while Lloyd’s has set up a new hub in Brussels.

In September last year QBE was given the go-ahead for post-Brexit restructuring.

MS Amlin received approval last June to re-domicile the insurer’s UK and Europe trading arm to Belgium.

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