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CNA Hardy, RSA and QBE select EU hubs

June 06, 2017

CNA Hardy, RSA and QBE have become the latest insurers to announce the location of their post-Brexit hubs.

Both CNA Hardy and RSA have opted for Luxembourg, mirroring plans by Hiscox, FM Global and AIG to open offices in the Grand Duchy. There are also reported rumours that Liberty Specialty Markets is set to establish a subsidiary in the country, but this has yet to be confirmed.

The decision from both carriers comes weeks after it was reported that Nicolas Mackel, CEO of the country’s financial sector development agency Luxembourg for Finance, said that he expected two or three new carriers to announce plans to establish hubs there in the near-term.

In contrast, Australian carrier QBE revealed that it has chosen Brussels for its EU base, following in the footsteps of Lloyd’s, which has previously said that it will open a European insurance company in the region.

In a statement, RSA said that Luxembourg is an “ideal location with multi-national expertise, strategically located within RSA’s existing EU branch network and has an experienced regulator,” adding that the office will house fewer than 10 people.

The new subsidiary will be the headquarters for RSA’s existing EU branches in Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, the carrier said.

However, the Luxembourg office will not be linked to RSA’s Scandinavian business, which is run separately and is based in Stockholm and wrote net written premiums of £1.7bn in 2016.

 “While Brexit is not a major issue for RSA, the move allows the sensible reconfiguration of the branch network in light of the UK’s exit,” the company said in its statement.

CNA Hardy said that it expects to have its Luxembourg subsidiary up and running by early 2019, with the establishment process already underway.

“We are in the business of providing certainty for our customers, and in an increasingly uncertain political environment, we must ensure we act now to provide continuity to our employees, customers and brokers,” remarked CNA Hardy CEO David Brosnan.

He explained that Luxembourg was the “optimum jurisdiction” for its EU base due to its geographic location between three of the carrier’s continental European offices, its stable economic and political environment and the professional approach of the Luxembourg regulator

Meanwhile, QBE said that it plans to have its new Brussels subsidiary set up in time for the 2019 renewals.

"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,” said QBE Europe CEO Richard Pryce in a statement.

"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,” he added.

QBE said that it already has a branch in Belgium, which houses around 70 to 80 people, with additional recruits expected.

The company said that there would no reduction in the number of staff it employs in London.