Brexit is the greatest structural challenge facing the London company market, the Chairman of the International Underwriting Association declared at its annual general meeting today (25 July). Speaking to member representatives at the association’s Minster Court office, Malcolm Newman said that the UK’s break from the EU affected insurers, brokers and clients in varying ways, but that none felt as informed as they might expect to be.
He said: “The IUA and the wider market has urged regulators not to create unnecessary new barriers to business and was pleased to welcome the Prudential Regulation Authority’s planned approach to the authorisation of EU branches operating in London. This promises to help preserve London’s unique depth of insurance expertise and resource and suggests a high degree of future supervisory cooperation between the UK and EU.
“We were disappointed that our desire for a comprehensive free trade agreement based on mutual market access for our customers seems now to be impossible. Businesses need to continue to access our market’s specialist risk capacity and we continue to work closely with the market to influence positive outcomes from the Brexit negotiations.
“It is also frustrating that the negotiations are not as well advanced as we need to serve our clients. We sincerely hope that the next few months will lead to successful conclusions to satisfy our market’s needs and preserve our unique trading advantages of talent, capital and innovation.”
Mr Newman also announced the publication of the IUA’s annual review which is available to download from the association’s website at www.iua.co.uk/annual report. The theme of the report is ‘Developing Global Access’, promoting London as international business centre at the heart of the global insurance industry.
Elsewhere in his speech the Chairman noted the incredible strength and resilience shown by the London Market in responding to major natural catastrophes in the Caribbean and North America during the past 12 months. “This served as an important reminder of the great social good our industry does in helping customers cope with, and recover from, the very worst events,” he commented.
Mr Newman also reviewed how the need to make transacting business with London an easier and more efficient process is driving take up of electronic trading. This fundamental change to the way insurance contracts are placed is steadily growing as the number of businesses classes available on the Market’s Placing Platform system increases. IUA members are working to introduce electronic placement along with other modernisation facilities into their operations and next year will see these utilities funded on a user-pays basis.
“This year’s annual report, once again highlights a number of successes over the past year,” said Mr Newman. “The IUA’s work is recognised globally and seen as value for money by its members. It is very encouraging to see that during my term as Chairman, the membership has risen from 42 to 55, including eight new members this year, and taking account of some significant mergers in that period.”