July 26, 2018 / 6:36 AM / 21 days ago

Broker JLT preparing for a no-deal Brexit - CEO

(Reuters) - Insurance and reinsurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT.L) said it was preparing for the possibility of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a deal, as it reported a 10 percent rise in first-half underlying pretax profit on Thursday.

“We are working on a position of a no-deal Brexit,” Chief Executive Officer Dominic Burke told Reuters.

Burke, however, said that JLT was confident in its ability to service clients across Europe. JLT has operations in the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Spain among others.

Burke said JLT was making a lot of changes while preparing for a no-deal Brexit.

He did not specify what these changes were, but said the company was building a “stronger” European platform and had bought a specialty marine insurance broker in Hamburg.

JLT had said earlier that its acquisition of Belgian specialty broker Belgibo NV would provide it with a larger continental European presence, ensuring that its clients in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway could access its services after Britain leaves the bloc.

While most London-listed insurers and reinsurers have set up EU bases to continue selling products customers in the bloc, JLT said it was not looking at a “hub approach”.

“I do not think we are necessarily thinking about a hub, but will have centres across many major economies in Europe,” Burke said.

The company, which advises mainly on risk management and employee benefits insurance, said underlying pretax profit rose to 108.8 million pounds in the six months ended June from 99.2 million pounds a year earlier.

The broker also said rates increased “substantially” in some parts of its retail business.

Separately, Lloyd’s of London insurer Lancashire (LRE.L) reported a rise in first-half pretax profit to $74.9 million from $66.7 million.

Lancashire also said some of its competitors were exiting unprofitable lines of business and Lloyd’s was beginning to take action on under-performing syndicates and lines of business.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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