The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is helping to pave the way for UK-based insurers to expand their operations to new countries, by proposing a template for future trade agreements with non-EU countries. The framework is offered to HM Treasury and the Department for International Trade as text that could be inserted directly into future trade agreements on financial services as they are negotiated with specific countries.
The top two priority markets for UK insurers, China and India, are territories for which a EU trade agreement does not currently exist. Other trade agreements held by the EU will need to be replaced by UK specific deals post-Brexit.
Among the terms proposed are:
* Relaxation of rules on foreign ownership, to help firms achieve a minimum 51% stake in companies and have a controlling stake.
* Freeing up regulations on data transfer, to ensure firms can move data over borders in a way that allows them to properly assess risk and to underwrite it.
* Ensuring the inclusion of pension and savings products, so UK firms can also compete on long-term savings products in a larger number of countries.
Ian Youngman, author of BREXIT and INSURANCE comments"The ABI avoids the fact that new country to country trade deals can take up to a decade to negotiate. Getting China, India and others to amend or remove ownership rules is in itself an uphill task as while some countries are loosening rules others such as Indonesia are tightening them. Insurance bosses need to make their own plans as by the time the government does a deal or two they will be long retired."