Insurer sets up post-Brexit EU insurer to cope with the potential loss of passporting

Richard Pryce alternative

QBE is planning to set up a subsidiary in Brussels, Belgium to preserve its access to the EU after Brexit.

The headquarters for QBE European Operations will remain in London. The new Belgian company will be operational for the 2019 renewals.

QBE already has a long-established branch in Brussels, which it said was one factor that influenced its choice of location. QBE said its decision was also influenced by Belgium’s central geographical and political role in the EU and its “solid and constructive” regulator.

Dublin had previously been considered a favourite for the insurer’s EU base.

Like several of its peers, QBE operates its European operations from the UK. It is widely expected that passporting – the ability to trade across the EU from a single location – will be lost to UK companies once the UK leaves the European Union.

This means many companies need to set up post-Brexit EU insurers to preserve their access to the Single Market.

QBE will join Lloyd’s in opting for Brussels for its post-Brexit EU insurer. RSA is setting up a new subsidiary in Luxembourg, as is AIG. Markel has opted for Munich, Germany.

QBE European Operations chief executive Richard Pryce said: “Our priority is providing certainty for our customers and staff, and our decision to set up a legal entity in Belgium ensures we can provide continuity of service irrespective of the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

”From the perspective of our customers, broker partners and staff it will be business as usual, with QBE continuing to operate from and across mainland Europe.”