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Insurance market reaction to Brexit vote

Jun 24th, 2016

The United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union following a vote for Brexit and industry leaders have appealed for calm with insurers insisting it will be "business as usual". A number of insurers spoke out to outline their long term commitment to the UK and offered support to customers and employees.

Trade body, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) stressed the importance of "ensuring the UK remains a globally competitive place to do business", while adding that it was too early to say what the impact of the Brexit vote will be on the industry.

The British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) said it was committed to working with the government to make sure insurance brokers and customers are represented during negotiations over Brexit.

S&P Global Ratings said it would be reviewing the ratings potentially affected by the referendum result. "We see the insurance sector as less exposed to the leave vote than the rest of the financial sector," it said. "While representing about one-third of the UK's very substantial financial services net export surplus, the insurance sector is far more reliant on trade with non-EU countries, especially the US. The sector is also a very limited recipient of inward investment."

Some specialists have predicted that the referendum result could see insurers being forced to restructure with PwC warning that it could lead to large operational, regulatory and tax costs as they adapt to such a change, PwC has warned.

Charles Portsmouth, director at insurance advisers Moore Stephens, added: "The reality is that a wholesale rollback of regulatory pressures originating from the EU is still unlikely. Major European-level initiatives such as Solvency II have already been incorporated into UK law; they are an integral part of the system in this country. "The insurance industry in particular are likely to want to retain access to EU market with a new trade deal," he said, adding: "We are still part of a global economy and in order to preserve lucrative ties and be able to sell cross-border, UK-based insurers are likely to find they still have to comply with EU regulation."

The Financial Conduct Authority warned that the longer term impacts of the decision to leave the EU on the overall regulatory framework for the UK would depend, in part, on the relationship that Britain seeks with the EU in the future.

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