The changing political landscape has prompted the London market to examine its European operations, bringing with it an upturn in growth in the continent.
Several insurers have indicated they are committed to European expansion, for example: Beazley has adapted its Dublin reinsurer into an insurance company which can conduct business across the EU with hubs in Barcelona and London; Markel International has applied for regulatory clearance to establish an insurance foothold in Germany; and Sompo International, which has launched a European specialty insurance underwriting function.
Companies are operating in an increasingly competitive world, placing ever-greater importance on seizing opportunities as and when they arise. Historically, the London market has not flourished in the European markets with the same success as it has elsewhere across the globe. The head of Europe at Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM), Kadidja Sinz has recognised that each country within the Eurozone brings with it requirements and was reported in Insurance Day as saying: “some companies are more middle- to upper-middle markets, some countries have commercial giants”, adding that, at LSM, “we treat continental Europe as a region but we have dedicated approaches in each country”.
One of the biggest tests for insurers in the London market in developing their operations in the continental European markets will be distinguishing themselves from their European competitors. They will need to show that their product offerings meet the needs of the businesses in the different European territories. Insurance Day reports that Simon Wilson, managing director of national markets at Markel International, believes that due to the smaller size of London market players relative to the larger European players, “the London player can be quicker and more nimble than competitors that typically have a vast array of products under management”. Wilson explained that one of the key ways Markel International has secured success in the continental European markets is by “focusing on being exceptionally good at a small number of products for an extended period of time”, adding: “rather than competing for the highly competitive large risk property/casualty business, I’d say London players are best sticking to smaller and more niche areas where fewer competitors have spent the time honing their products and expertise”.