Huw Evans director general of the ABI warns against a no-deal Brexit at insurance conference

ABI warns against a no-deal Brexit

Leaving the EU without a deal is not acceptable for the insurance industry, ABI director general Huw Evans will warn today.

Leaving the EU with no deal is not acceptable if insurers are to continue to meet the needs of millions of customers and remain legally compliant Evans will tell the ABI’s flagship Brexit conference later today.

“It is unacceptable not to have a Brexit deal at the point at which we leave in 2019,” he will tell the conference.

“As the Chancellor said in the Mansion House speech, the Brexit process has to be delivered in a way that enables business to operate, and our customers not to suffer any unnecessary detriment.

“To meet our clients’ needs as an industry and ensure full compliance with the law, the government has to deliver an orderly withdrawal, a stable transition and a sensible and mutually beneficial future trading relationship.”

While this will take time, “It is more important to get it right than to pretend things are simpler than they are and set artificial deadlines,” he will say.

Evans will call for cross-party parliamentary co-operation to make the legislative process work.

“We would like to see a framework established for formal cooperation between the main parties in Westminster and between the two Houses of Parliament,” he will say.

Evans will highlight a number of major issues affecting insurers and their customers.

The post-Brexit standing of contracts written pre-Brexit, such as business liability insurance contracts, will need clarification, as there is a risk that insurers will lose their licence to conduct insurance in their customer’s jurisdiction, and therefore will be unable legally to fulfil the contracts.

This could affect also affect the ability to pay claims on many liability insurance contracts offered to businesses on a pan-EU basis. Though these are usually annual contracts, the claims are complicated and may take up to a decade to be completed.

Loss of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) could push up the cost of travel insurance. Insurers offering annual travel policies in April 2018 will have to prepare for the possibility of covering these treatment costs after the UK is set to leave the EU in March 2019.

Loss of the motor insurance Green Card guaranteeing third party insurance in EU countries would mean motorists having to buy extra insurance when they travel abroad. Those making a claim may also have to pursue claims with foreign bodies, potentially in a language which they are unfamiliar, Evans pointed out.

The ABI’s ‘Brexit – the road ahead’ conference will look at the impact and outlook that Brexit and the exit negotiations will have for the insurance and long-term savings industry. Keynote speakers include the Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Stephen Barclay, Economic Secretary to the Treasury. The conference is sold out, with over 250 representatives from the industry attending.