XL Group is the latest property/casualty insurer to make plans to move its European insurance company headquarters from the United Kingdom in response to its vote to leave the European Union.
The insurer and reinsurer (parent company of XL Catlin) said it will shift its main EU operations to Dublin, Ireland in 2018, once it obtains the required regulatory approvals. This will be accomplished by moving its main EU insurance company, XL Insurance Co. SE, which will allow its clients and brokers to continue being serviced through its European branch network once the Brexit process is complete.
XL Group’s post-Brexit decision to relocate follows similar moves by other P/C insurers and reinsurers. Chubb Limited has said it intends to relocate its European Union headquarters to France if the United Kingdom leaves the EU as expected in March 2019. CNA Hardy decided in June to launch a European subsidiary in Luxembourg beyond its London headquarters in order to keep open access to the EU market. FM Global is also shifting its EU headquarters from the UK to Luxembourg. American International Group will open a Luxembourg subsidiary but keep its main EU headquarters in London. MS Amlin plans to re-domicile its European business, Amlin Insurance Societas Europaea (AISE), to Belgium in response to Brexit.
The Lloyd’s of London insurance market, meanwhile, plans to address Brexit concerns by opening a Brussels subsidiary.
In the case of XL Group, choosing Dublin as its EU headquarters makes sense on multiple levels. It has had operations there since 1990 after opening its first European insurance company in the city’s International Financial Services Center. XL Group noted in its Brexit announcement that it established XL Re Europe (today XL Re Europe SE) in 2006 and that it remains an Irish-domiciled insurer.
Also, XL Group’s parent company was domiciled in Dublin between 2010 and 2016 before its new holding company XL Group Ltd. was formed in Bermuda after XL Group acquired Catlin Group that year. The combined company continues to have insurance and reinsurance operations in Dublin.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, XL Group said it will keep Catlin Insurance Co. in place (the division is a UK-regulated insurance company). Its Lloyd’s operations – Syndicate 2003 and 3002 – will also remain.
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