LONDON (Reuters) - Brussels, Athens and Piraeus are among cities London insurance brokers could consider for European Union subsidiaries, with time running out to plan for a hard Brexit, a trade body said on Wednesday.
The Lloyd’s of London commercial insurance market is setting up an EU subsidiary in Brussels to start writing business from January 2019.
A number of other large insurers such as AIG (AIG.N) and Aviva (AV.L) are also setting up EU hubs in centres such as Luxembourg and Dublin, in the event that Britain loses access to the European Union’s single market after Brexit.
But brokers have generally been slower to set up such units, industry sources say.
“At this advanced stage of the game, it would be foolish to ignore the very real possibility of no deal for the UK,” Christopher Croft, chief executive of the London Insurance and International Brokers Association (LIIBA), said in a statement accompanying the trade group’s mid-year report.
“That’s why we’re encouraging our members to address this scenario now.”
LIIBA has been in talks with the Belgian government and regulators to help brokers considering Brussels as an EU hub, Croft said.
“LIIBA will be pursuing a more in-depth exploration of whether Athens or Piraeus could prove a viable alternative location,” he added.
A number of LIIBA members already have operations in the port town of Piraeus, near Athens, as the trade body represents brokers accounting for one third of global marine insurance premiums, Croft told Reuters by email.
Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Hugh Lawson