Insurers seek urgent review with Ireland set to lose out

Industry body Insurance Ireland has called for an urgent review of the country’s attractiveness as an EU hub after reports that Lloyd’s of London plans to overlook Ireland as it selects a new European headquarters following Brexit.

It emerged yesterday that Lloyd’s — one of the most vocal UK financial services firms on the need of an EU base if Britain loses single market access — is likely to pick Luxembourg or Brussels for its planned EU subsidiary.

Such a move would see Dublin, which had been seen as an early favourite for the role, lose out.

The insurer AIG earlier this month said it was opting for Luxembourg over Dublin as the location of its new EU headquarters, despite a strong pitch from the Government and IDA Ireland.

Nevertheless, the Government is maintaining a brave face.

Speaking yesterday, Financial Services Minister Eoghan Murphy said: “We’ve a very strong offering and we’ve done extensive work to promote that offering. Not every decision will go our way — there will be an ebb and flow to this, and I think the flow to Ireland will be strong from decisions that have already been made in our favour.”

“But other cities in Europe will also be chosen by companies looking to maintain access to the single market, as well as cities in Ireland like Dublin and Cork.”

However, Insurance Ireland said lessons must be drawn from these company decisions and called for a review.

“There are many competing jurisdictions for insurance investments arising from the UK’s decision to leave the EU,” said Insurance Ireland chief Kevin Thompson.

“To capitalise on Ireland’s advantages, and to maintain the strong growth trajectory of the sector here, Insurance Ireland is calling for a review process to inform Government and industry efforts to secure future opportunities.

“Insurance Ireland has also sought a meeting with the Government to discuss this review process and further collaboration to convert expressions of interest into investment decisions.”

Lloyd’s is home to around 100 insurance syndicates.

Lloyd’s will announce its choice today after its council meets, on the same day British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Lloyd’s shortlist of six locations has been reduced to Brussels and Luxembourg, sources said.

Alongside Dublin’s removal, Frankfurt, Malta, and Paris have also been dropped. Lloyd’s could move dozens of staff to its subsidiary, rather than the hundreds some banks plan to shift.

Additional reporting Reuters


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