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UK's Insurance Market Set For Competitive Growth

uk insurance marketThe UK government has been doing their best to increase the number of international insurance companies acting domicile in the UK, and this movement has been well received by industry leaders. The thought behind it is that it will enhance the UK’s competitive market position in the insurance sector, which will only bring benefits to the country. The government revealed an ‘Insurance Growth Action Plan’ last week, which was designed with the help of various leading UK insurance bodies. They commented, saying: “We recognise that a lengthy and time-consuming authorisation process can act as a barrier to investment.” The benefits from a UK domicile have also not always been made clear to the relevant insurance parties, and this needs to change.

In order to combat this, the government has contacted the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), asking them to commit to ‘streamlining the authorisation process for prospective insurance applicants.’ The insurance growth action plan has been co-signed by Chancellor George Osborne and the Treasury’s financial secretary, Sajid Javid. The plan states: “UK trade and investment will pro-actively target insurers to move their domicile to the UK, including developing a marketing campaign setting out the business case for locating in the UK.”

Jonathan Howe, PWC’s UK insurance leader said: “The plan is very positive as a public statement of commitment to the industry. However, despite the high-profile relocations to the UK, such as Aon moving their headquarters from Chicago to London in 2012, the market has seen far more departures than arrivals in the last two decades.” The government has also announced that they are planning on working towards removing the trade barriers that are stopping UK-based insurance firms from trading with certain overseas markets. There are also plans to launch free-trade negotiations with five key up-coming markets: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Turkey. Lloyds chairman John Nelson commented on the plan, saying: “Given our strategy to expand Lloyds into high-growth emerging economies, we welcomed the government’s support and its commitment to work with the industry to gain access to new markets.”

James Savery, 12 December 2013

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