Brexit, economic turmoil could deter insurance buying
- Firms may have to scale back growth projections as capital gets harder to find
- Only a fifth of brokers think their businesses will grow post Brexit
Uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the EU and the fragile economy will likely mean customers buying less insurance, according to brokers.
It may be a false economy, but consumers and businesses tend to scale back discretionary spending on insurance at times of economic turmoil.
Firms spoken to by Insurance Times in the aftermath of the Brexit vote said they were also worried that leaving the EU means losing passporting rights, which means they won’t have access to insurer markets in the rest of Europe.
Innovation Broking chief executive Paul Dickson said he was concerned that his clients, who are predominantly tech firms, would become have to scale back their growth projections as access to venture capital becomes more difficult in an uncertain economic environment. “Investors are going to be very worried about growth prospects and they’ll be frustrated through the tortuous process which is likely to take place through the renegotiation of trade deals,” Dickson says.
Dickson also believes that the UK will lose business as overseas companies will view the UK as too difficult to trade with, and will look elsewhere in Europe for opportunities in view of the UK’s impending exit from the single market. “My concern is that even though we have not left, our customers’ partners can take the long term view and plan on the expectation, that from now, we will not be a part of Europe,” he says. “They will take a conservative and pragmatic view and assume we will be leaving, and we will see the effect of those decisions sooner rather than later.”
A survey by Insurance Times found that 52% of insurance firms believed they would see no change in their business as a result of Brexit, while 28% said their business would shrink. Only a fifth of those that responded were confident that their business would grow.
Sebastian De Zulueta, a broker at International Professional Risks believes that Brexit will enable the UK to conduct its own trading deals with non-EU countries like India. “We will be able to do it quicker,” he added. “The sky is the limit and we will end up doing that with all our commonwealth partners, with non EU companies and the EU.”
Other firms are hoping that Brexit will lead to a restructuring of the EU that will enable the UK to negotiate a better deal and still remain in the EU.
Seventeen Group chief executive Paul Anscombe said the main risk he saw was that some organisations might delay significant investment in their business until the situation became clearer. He added: “If investment is deferred, that affects brokers and the economy in general. The danger is not in our business model but it is the extent to which our clients and start-ups are going to invest in their own business. “But the insured will continue to insure their liabilities.”
The process of UK leaving the EU will take time but negotiations will start as soon as Article 50 is triggered.
Biba has said it is gearing up for this process to help ensure members’ interests are protected.
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