Business

Brexit would be ‘bad news' for insurance industry

Lloyd's traders have said a Brexit would be bad for the UK's insurance industry

MORE than two-thirds of traders at Lloyd's of London say a Brexit would be bad for the UK's £60 billion-a-year insurance business, according to a report.

The survey, commissioned by City PR firm Haggie Partners, said 68.7 per cent of brokers and insurers believe leaving the European Union would "hurt" or "severely damage" Lloyd's of London.

A quarter of brokers believe it will have no impact, while only 6.2 per cent said Brexit would benefit Lloyd's, which traces its history back to Edward Lloyd's City coffee house in 1688.

Just under 70 per cent of brokers said they sold their services directly into EU countries, with 45.8 per cent adding that further expansion into the EU was a "top priority for development".

This compared with 23.7 per cent of brokers who identified China as their main target for new business, 16.2 per cent who went for Latin America, 10.7 per cent who selected India, and others who opted for the Middle East.

The research was carried out for Haggie Partners by Dr Adrian Leonard, an insurance consultant and an associate director of the Centre for Financial History, University of Cambridge.

Dr Leonard said: "Lloyd's centrally has clearly stated its preference for Britain to stay within the European Union, and this research shows that, from a business perspective at least, the vast majority of companies in the London market agree."

Meanwhile, finance directors at major British firms said investment had slowed due to Brexit fears, according to another survey.

Chief finance officers said hiring and capital spending decisions eased to three-year lows, reported professional services firm Deloitte.

The survey showed 75 per cent of the finance chiefs from FTSE 350 and other large private companies backed Britain's continued membership of the EU in the first three months of this year, up from 62 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

"The EU scores high marks with chief finance officers for its beneficial effects on UK exports, inward investment and financial services," the report said.

The UK's EU membership referendum will take place on June 23.

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