Venerable British insurance company, Lloyd's of London, has announced it will open a new office in the EU capital to ensure access to the bloc's market following Britain's full exit scheduled for 2019.
One day after British Prime Minister Theresa May activated the two-year countdown to the nation's divorce from the EU, Lloyd's of London said Thursday it would seek access to the European Union insurance market through a new office in Brussels "ready to write business for the 1st of January 2019 renewal season."
The 329-year-old insurance and reinsurance specialist made the decision in response to uncertainty surrounding Brexit, repeatedly warning it could move operations elsewhere to maintain its customer base in heartland Europe.
Lloyd's chief executive (CEO) Inga Beale said Brussels met its "critical" requirements of a "robust regulatory framework in a central European location."
"I am excited about the opportunities this venture will offer the market by providing that important European access efficiently," she added.
Lloyd's currently enjoys so-called "EU passporting rights", which allow EU member states to trade across national borders, providing a gateway to access the rest of the bloc. It also benefits from trade agreements.
The insurance giant stressed though, that there would be no immediate impact on its existing insurance policies, renewals or new policies for at least two more years.
CEO Beale also noted that it was now important for Britain and the EU to negotiate an agreement that allowed "best possible conditions" for business after Brexit. "I believe it is important not just for the City but also for Europe that we reach a mutually beneficial agreement," she said
The company made no indication about how many British jobs it would move to Brussels. But media reports suggest it could be more than 100 that are to be shifted, with more to follow once Lloyd's has fully established itself in Brussels.
According to media, the Belgian capital beat Dublin, Luxembourg and Malta in the selection process.
uhe/jd (Reuters, AFP, dpa)