MONACO (Reuters) - The Lloyd’s of London SOLYD.UL insurance market has a lined up of companies wanting to join, Chairman John Nelson said on Monday, even as Britain’s vote to leave the European Union casts doubt over its European business.
Nelson said last week that Lloyd’s, the world’s leading specialty insurance market, would have to operate some business from the EU after Brexit if Britain fails to keep so-called passporting rights for financial companies to sell products across the bloc.
A decision on where those operations might be based has yet to be made, but the Brexit uncertainty has not deterred would-be entrants to the market, Nelson told Reuters at the reinsurance industry’s annual meeting in Monte Carlo.
“The pipeline of people wanting to join the Lloyd’s platform is still very healthy,” he said. “There are quite a few who’d like to come on, it’s a very attractive platform.”
Recent entrants have come from Brazil, China, Mexico, the United States. From inside the EU, France’s AXA AXA.PA joined this year as part of its effort to expand in Africa in areas such as political risk.
Nelson did not name any potential newcomers but said they covered a broad geographical spread and comprised businesses looking to set up new operations or buy one of the market’s existing 90 or so syndicates.
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) could be one such acquirer and is reported to be in talks to buy U.S. insurer AIG’s (AIG.N) Lloyd’s operations.
About 11 percent of the 25 billion pounds ($33.28 billion) in gross written premiums at Lloyd’s last year came from the EU, though Nelson said that some of that was reinsurance business, which is less dependent on passporting rights.
While Nelson thinks there is a “good chance” that Britain will lose its passporting rights, he also believes that some agreement can still be reached because European companies want to continue selling their products in Britain.
“A lot of EU businesses are on exactly the same page as we are,” he said.
($1 = 0.7513 pounds)
Editing by David Goodman