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Could Brexit bring new opportunities in Europe for those prepared to seize them?

By Chris Wallace
Executive Director - Europe

No one knows what Brexit negotiations will yield. However, Chris Wallace, Executive Director for European markets at QBE, says companies should be prepared for the opportunities the UK leaving the European Union can bring.

Pockets of the insurance industry have been diligently preparing for the moment the UK leaves the European Union, taking on considerable work to be ready for all possible outcomes and carefully considering the best approach for a post-Brexit strategy ahead of next year.

But can those industry players who are willing to rise to the challenges brought on by Brexit proactively commit to and execute a customer-focused strategy to find new opportunities in Europe?

The preparations ahead of March 2019 have been long and complex as we work to ensure that one thing our customers won’t see is any disruption to their insurance services. But those international insurers that are working to stay ahead of the game, those that will enter this period of uncertainty with the right mechanisms in place, can seize this opportunity to create a more unified strategy for Europe.

As companies gear up to face the uncertainty ahead, they will need to think about their risk exposures more than ever, and will need an insurer that not only understands the coverage they will need, but can provide it across multiple territories.

QBE is Brexit ready. Our post-Brexit plans were approved by regulators in September. This followed approval from the National Bank of Belgium for our Brussels entity in May. With that in mind we now turn our minds to how we can use the necessity of setting an EU subsidiary to our advantage. 

Traditional domestic players still dominate the market in Continental Europe, but many others will use Brexit as a catalyst to develop their own unique offering in Europe. We believe we bring a more international outlook with an agility of response that befits a broader thinker. That means it’s easier for us to do things differently and we intend to.

Traditionally the view in Europe is to treat each country as an individual entity bound by its geographical boundaries. Much has been said about borders since the referendum but hard or soft they shouldn’t preclude us from offering Europe-wide solutions.

There are opportunities in Continental Europe. Take cyber, for example. It doesn’t matter where you are in Europe, one of the things that unites neighbours is the General Data Protection Regulation. Cyber criminals do not respect borders, so companies need coverage and support that spans all territories.

We cannot be certain what Brexit negotiations will yield and what the final shape of the UK’s relationship with the EU will be, but we can make sure that both UK and EU customers will be able to count on their insurance during this transition.  With our plans firmly in place, we look forward to taking advantage of new opportunities and continuing to work to find the right solutions for our customers.

This article was first published in Insurance Post

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Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace

Executive Director, Europe

Tel: +44 (20) 71055474