Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Insurers Give Themselves Irish Option after Brexit; INSURANCE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Insurers Give Themselves Irish Option after Brexit; INSURANCE

Article excerpt

Byline: coreena ford coreena.ford@ncjmedia.co.uk

ONE of the world's largest marine insurance groups - based in the North East - is opening a base in Ireland to ensure continued access to EU markets following the Brexit vote.

North and Sunderland Marine - the marine insurance businesses which came together to form North P&I Group two years ago - collectively employ around 300 people on Newcastle Quayside and are the region's longest-established firms in their sector.

Their merger in 2015 also formed the biggest global firm of its kind, with Sunderland Marine focusing on insuring large ships such as freighters and North carving a niche in commercial vessels, operating in markets across the globe.

Now, in direct response to the UK referendum on membership of the EU in June 2016, the firm's directors have revealed they have been developing contingency plans to make sure that both companies continue to have access to EU markets, resulting in the creation of a Dublin subsidiary.

The firms currently rely on EU passporting rights to insure risks in the European Economic Area (EEA) and details of the future UK/EU trading relationship and its implementation are still unknown.

However, the insurers said they ultimately expect to lose existing passporting rights when the UK's EU membership comes to an end, or when the end of any agreed transition period finishes.

In a statement, the group said: "Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future regulatory landscape, and a realistic prospect that passporting rights could be lost as early as March 29 2019 on expiry of the current two year Article 50 notice period, it was agreed at a meeting of the North board of directors on November 8 that a subsidiary insurance company should be established in Ireland to underwrite all future EEA business of North and Sunderland Marine with effect from 20 February 2019. …

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