Brexit prompts ship in­sur­ers to look south

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

LON­DON (Reuters) – UK-reg­u­lated ship in­sur­ers are pre­par­ing plans to open new out­posts in Euro­pean Union ju­ris­dic­tions such as Lux­em­bourg and Cyprus, fear­ing that Brexit will hin­der ac­cess to the EU’s fi­nan­cial mar­ket, in­dus­try sources in­volved say. Britain dom­i­nates the global ma­rine in­sur­ance mar­ket and los­ing ac­cess to spe­cial­ist Pro­tec­tion and In­dem­nity (P&I) clubs – ma­rine in­sur­ers owned by ship­ping firms – could fur­ther weaken other parts of its multi-bil­lion-pound ship­ping ser­vices sec­tor. Sev­eral Greek shipown­ers have al­ready moved oper­a­tions out of Britain an­tic­i­pat­ing changes that could re­move their fa­vor­able “non­domi­cile” tax sta­tus. Ship­ping sources said Cyprus was a pos­si­ble des­ti­na­tion, keen to boost its mar­itime in­dus­try and re­cently at­tract­ing more ship­ping compa- nies, in­clud­ing Greek shipown­ers pre­vi­ously based in Lon­don. A Cypriot of­fi­cial said there had been early com­mu­ni­ca­tion over po­ten­tial in­ter­est by clubs to es­tab­lish a base there, de­clin­ing fur­ther com­ment. An­drew Bar­dot, ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the In­ter­na­tional Group of P&I Clubs – the um­brella as­so­ci­a­tion for the 13 in­sur­ers – said other pos­si­ble ju­ris­dic­tions in­cluded Ire­land, Ger­many and Greece. “‘Wait and see’ is not an op­tion given the time that it will take [to set up] a reg­u­lated sub­sidiary within an EU mem­ber-state,” he said.

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