BIBA calls for urgent progress with new EU free trade agreement as Article 50 is invoked

29th March 2017

• £7.8 billion of business and UK’s number one position at risk
• Business models of 2,758 UK brokers will be affected
• Mutual tariff-free access in EU needed

Following Theresa May’s announcement today invoking Article 50, the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has warned that having no clear agreement in place for the right to carry out cross border trade with the EU as is currently possible, creates huge uncertainty for the UK market and the 2,758 insurance brokers that possess passports to trade in the EU. UK brokers trade £7.8Bn in European revenues meaning the UK holds the number one position in the European insurance market.

BIBA’s Chief Executive, Steve White, said: “The UK’s number one position in the European insurance market and the business model of nearly three thousand UK firms is under serious threat if we do not have barrier-free, tariff-free access to the EU market including some form of passporting model and regulatory equivalence. Therefore, as Theresa May invokes Article 50 we call on her to deliver what she stated in her Lancaster House speech – the greatest possible access to the EU through a bold free trade agreement.”

Graeme Trudgill, BIBA’s Executive Director, added: “5,727 EU based insurance intermediaries possess passports to trade in the UK – many of them accessing the London insurance market. This demonstrates the genuine need for mutual market access and evidences a clear opportunity for Theresa May to nail down a free trade agreement for the insurance sector, protecting UK jobs and income.”

White added: “A significant amount of business enters the UK market from large markets outside of the EU such as the United States, because the UK is viewed as the gateway to Europe. US firms choose to feed business to the UK in order to find an insurance solution for their pan-European products, rather than having to go individually into 27 separate EU states. This is why we need a sector specific solution to enable the UK insurance market to continue to provide cross border services to the EU bearing in mind the importance of our sector to the economy and the balance of trade.”

BIBA’s Chairman, Lord Hunt of Wirral, added: “BIBA has identified that more than 2,400 highly skilled and highly valued EU citizens work in the London insurance market and a variety of business models depend on this. Conversely, many UK nationals hold key positions across continental Europe. BIBA has called for a mutual positive solution for the workforce on both sides of the channel.”

In its 2017 Manifesto on EU exit issues BIBA additionally calls for solutions in respect of; the use of ‘green cards’ for motor insurance; the use of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) connected with travel insurance; and changes to the motor insurance market following the VNUK case.

Click here for BIBA’s EU Exit Manifesto

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