Lloyd’s Plans for Post-Brexit Subsidiary

Just one day after the U.K. set in motion its process for withdrawal from the European Union by triggering Article 50, Lloyd’s announced it was establishing a subsidiary in Brussels, intending to be able to write EU business for the Jan. 1, 2019, renewal season.

The new company will write risks from all 27 European Union countries and three European Economic Area states once Brexit is completed. Because Britain remains a full member of the EU for at least two more years, there will be no immediate impact on existing policies, renewals or new policies, including multi-year policies written during this period of time, the insurer said. The Brussels subsidiary will have its own board of directors and, unlike some banks that have said they will move hundreds of employees to the EU, it will only employ dozens of staff in areas such as information technology and compliance.

Hank Watkins, president of Lloyd’s North America spoke to Risk Management about the company’s plans and the why it chose Belgium as its new location.

RM: How did the process of finding a new EU base begin?

Watkins: Within a week or two of [the Brexit vote] last June, Lloyd’s was on its way, looking across Europe for a new domicile, if you will, for our European business. We are not moving out of London—what we have done is set up an insurance company in Brussels, purely to allow us to passport around the European Union. Because we are not necessarily confident that the U.K. will be able to negotiate passporting rights with the other countries, we are assuming they are not. If they are ultimately successful, then we will just close up and go back home, but that probably will not be the case.

RM: How will the subsidiary work?

Watkins: If you are a policyholder with Lloyd’s, where you previously would have received a policy with all of the syndicates subscribed to it, and that would have been stamped by each of those syndicates, you will also receive an identical policy for the European exposures. It will have the Lloyd’s insurance company name on it and the syndicate stamp of that insurance company and the Lloyd’s syndicates. It is just a little more paperwork for us. The policy is the same—it does not change coverage and it does not change pricing—It is more of an administrative effort to align with what the regulator expects. And our ratings are not affected, we are still S&P-, AM Best- and Fitch-rated A or better and the central fund is still very strong.

RM: Why Belgium?

Watkins: We found a regulator there who is allowing us basically to cede 100% of the premium and the risk back to the syndicate in London. Every other country has some variation of wanting to maintain part of the risk in their country but that does not work for us. So Belgium is a very strong regulator centered in the heart of Europe and a great talent pool as we build out the platform—which won’t be that large, by the way, because we are not necessarily moving people there.

RM: How will insureds be impacted?

Watkins: Companies with no risks in the European Union will see no impact, and it will be seamless for international companies with risks in the EU. Also, it is probably not as well known, but because we are not just large, commercial risks, we do insure a lot of homeowners on the coastlines and a number of private yachts and aircraft, so this is a way to seamlessly include coverage for them in Europe as well.

IICF Annual Benefit Dinner Draws Stars and Money for a Good Cause

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) held its annual benefit dinner last night at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel. The star-studded night for a good cause featured several speakers, including:

  • David Brinkman, chairman of the board for IICF
  • Paula Zhan, host and executive producer of “On the Case with Paula Zhan” and co-host of “NYC-ARTS”
  • Hank Watkins, president of Lloyd’s America, Inc.
  • Mark Teixeira, first baseman for the New York Yankees
  • Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for baseball operations
  • Brian Duperreault, president and CEO of Marsh & McLennan Companies
  • Mike McGavick, CEO of XL Group

David Brinkman opened the evening with remarks about the foundation’s year of giving, noting that the IICF has __ 16 grants in the tri-state area in 2012 and was able to raise an astounding $50,000 to be given to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. “What the general public may not realize is that, in addition to claims paid, our industry is generous with philanthropy,” said Brinkman.

Paula Zhan entertained the crowd with stories of her years spent interviewing notable world figures, including Fidel Castro, Princess Diana and Pete Rose. On a more serious note, she explained how Alzheimer’s has affected her family and how, through her work with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, she is helping to raise awareness for the dibilitating disease, which costs the U.S. more than $200 billion annually.

Hank Watkins took the stage to announce that the dinner raised more than $1.3 million. “With this night, we’re able to help thousands of people make their way through challenging times,” he said.

Mark Teixeira gave the crowd a good laugh by mentioning the Hurricane Sandy benefit concert happening at the same time as the IICF benefit dinner (and just a few blocks away). “If you guys want to spend $500 to see a bunch of aging stars, just go to a Yankees game.” Well done, Mr. Teixeira. Having captured the crowd’s attention, he talked about his foundation, DreamTeam25, which has partnered with Harlem RBI to “provide inner-city youth with opportunities to play, learn and grow using the power of teams to coach, teach and inspire youth to recognize their potential and realize their dreams,” he explained.

Joe Torre was welcomed by Yankees and Red Sox fans alike as he told the crowd about his Safe at Home Foundation, which educates to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives. Torre explained how he witnessed his father’s physical abuse towards his mother and emotional abuse towards himself and his siblings. The experience inspired Torre and his wife to create the foundation in 2002.

Closing out the night was Mike McGavick of XL insurance — the honoree of the night. McGavick accepted the award on behalf of XL and reminded those in attendance that giving, and being a part of a community, is what life is about. “As Adam Smith asked, ‘How can self-interest be married to the communite’s interest?’ Or as David Hume said, ‘We must do well by others or we will eventually be harmed.’ Those ideas are perfectly merged. We must look to our community. Because of our [industry’s] peculiar focus on the nightmares in this world, we truly understand the pain and need that’s out there.”