More insurers choose post-Brexit bases

Australia’s QBE Insurance is following Lloyd’s of London in selecting Brussels as the location for setting up a European hub post-Brexit, reports the Financial Times.

“Brussels is pretty compelling for us as our biggest existing European business is in Belgium,” Richard Pryce, chief executive officer (CEO) of QBE’s European operation, told the paper, adding that the choice of alternative location had not been a difficult one.

The news swiftly follows RSA’s announcement that it plans to set up its post-Brexit EU hub in Luxembourg, following the lead of fellow insurers AIG and Hiscox, which also plan to establish a base in the Duchy.

RSA’s announcement stated: “Luxembourg is an ideal location with multi-national expertise, strategically located within RSA’s existing EU branch network and has an experienced regulator.

“The new Luxembourg entity will fit into the existing UK and international governance structure and reporting lines. While Brexit is not a major issue for RSA, the move allows the sensible reconfiguration of the branch network in light of the UK’s exit.”

The new office will form the headquarters of RSA’s Belgian, French, German, Spanish and Dutch branches.

The FT also reports that specialist commercial insurance provider CNA Hardy also plans to establish a European subsidiary in Luxembourg to ensure it can continue to operate across the EU post-Brexit. The group said that the process of setting up the Luxembourg subsidiary was already underway and should be completed by 2019.

The latest decisions will be a disappointment to Dublin, which also has ambitions to become a major post-Brexit EU insurance hub, helped by its legal system and proximity to London.

The city received a boost last month, when banking group JP Morgan confirmed plans to purchase a new office in Dublin and double its headcount in the Irish capital to 1,000 staff.

At the same time, the group warned of the city’s “binding constraint” in various aspects of its infrastructure, such as housing, schools and transport.

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