AFL Insurance Brokers chairman Toby Esser joined a panel discussion at the recent GVNW Symposium in Munich, where he was asked how he felt the London and UK (re)insurance market might be affected by Brexit.
Addressing this European and international audience of professionals from across the global insurance, financial and manufacturing markets, he took some by surprise with his view that Brexit was certainly not an insurmountable problem, rather a challenge that the market could well relish.
He pointed out that most London insurers have Europe-wide licenses, and indeed Lloyd’s is pursuing one. And where companies do not hold licenses, Esser noted that they have access to fronting businesses.
The headline is that Lloyd’s brokers are used to being problem solvers, dealing with international relationships on a daily basis, so the Brexit challenge is not only one that they will be able to cope with, but will also see as an opportunity.
Businesses must be agile
While politicians still squabble at the starting blocks over Brexit, we embrace any change to distribution norms that this move may bring to our industry. To be successful in the future, the best must have the agility to navigate uncertain landscapes where cumbersome business models may stall.
This is certainly not to say the market will move away from being relationship-driven, rather that the best technology enables more face-to-face meetings about what truly matters, while offering more efficient and effective underlying processes to support every aspect of that relationship.
The (re)insurance industry as a whole must actively invest in developing expertise in emerging, innovative areas which are likely to have significant impact on how insurance coverage is written in the future.
The London market will not lose its relevance in a European or indeed international market, and will not only retain its ability to service European risk managers, but may well strengthen and expand its services internationally as well. Perhaps in leaving the EU, we can use the funds that were paying subsidies elsewhere, and instead invest in developing world class Insurtech concepts? Just a thought!
While it would certainly be counter-productive for Europe to try to punish UK businesses for Brexit, even the most extreme hard Brexit would be a leveler, and an opportunity for the tenacious and forward-thinking. We’re already busy working on new ways of working with partners both in and outside the EU, how about you?
Image caption: Toby Esser (L) speaks at the 2017 GVNW Symposium