UK insurers aren’t waiting for the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, but instead are taking action to secure their business future by setting up a framework for overseas development. A template for future trade agreements with non-EU countries is being proposed by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), helping to pave the way for UK-based insurers to expand their operations to new countries.
The framework is a document which is being offered to HM Treasury and the Department for International Trade as text which could be inserted directly into future trade agreements on financial services as they are negotiated with specific countries.
The top two priority markets for UK insurers, China and India, are territories for which an EU trade agreement does not currently exist. Other trade agreements held by the EU will need to be replaced by UK specific deals post-Brexit.
Among the terms proposed are:
* Relaxation of rules on foreign ownership, to help firms achieve a minimum 51% stake in companies and therefore have a controlling stake.
* Freeing up regulations on data transfer, to ensure firms can move data over borders in a way which allows them to properly assess risk and to underwrite it.
* Ensuring the inclusion of pension and savings products, so UK firms can also compete on long-term savings products in a larger number of countries.
Hugh Savill, Director of Regulation at the ABI and a former trade negotiator, said:
“The UK’s insurance and long-term savings sector is already the fourth largest in the world and is ready to be at the forefront of helping secure Britain’s prosperity after Brexit.
“Having worked closely with our members and with experienced trade negotiators, we can now offer a framework to Government which should serve a very practical purpose in upcoming trade negotiations, and help maintain London’s position as an international centre for insurance.
“Our industry has needs and priorities that are different to other parts of the financial services sector. Since a number of our members have been operating internationally for decades we have access to unique expertise to help shape the terms and conditions of future trade deals that would apply to us. We’ll continue to make our expertise available to Government in the years ahead.”