The Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) director general, Huw Evans, has warned that leaving the EU without a deal is not acceptable if insurers are to continue to meet the needs of millions of customers and remain legally compliant.
Evans was speaking at the ABI’s flagship Brexit conference – and said it is unacceptable not to have a Brexit deal at the point at which the UK leaves in 2019.
Evans said: “As the Chancellor said in the Mansion House speech, the Brexit process has to be delivered in a way that enables business to operate, and our customers not to suffer any unnecessary detriment. To meet our clients’ needs as an industry and ensure full compliance with the law, the Government has to deliver an orderly withdrawal, a stable transition and a sensible and mutually beneficial future trading relationship.”
Cross-party cooperation call
Evans called for cross-party parliamentary co-operation to make the legislative process work.
He said: “We would like to see a framework established for formal cooperation between the main parties in Westminster and between the two Houses of Parliament.”
According to the ABI, among the many issues affecting both business and individual customers which need to be resolved by Brexit are:
- Long standing customers
The ABI said the treatment of contracts written pre-Brexit and still in force post-Brexit will need to be clarified. These could include pensions contracts, or business liability insurance contracts – some of them stretching decades ahead. The risk is that, as a result of leaving the Single Market, insurers lose their licence to do insurance in the customer’s jurisdiction, and therefore cannot legally fulfil the contracts.
- The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
The ABI says Britons take 32 million holiday trips to the EU a year, and the EHIC – which is free for any citizen – reduces the costs of providing travel insurance because it allows people to receive state funded health treatment across Europe in certain circumstances.
The body said clarity is needed as soon as possible given insurers offering annual travel policies in April 2018 will have to prepare for the possibility of covering these treatment costs after the UK is set to leave the EU in March 2019
The motor insurance ‘Green Card’ guarantees that motorists have third party insurance when visiting other countries.
The current system also provides victims with a route to compensation in their own country (and language) when a visiting motorist causes damage. Without a deal motorists may need to buy extra cover if they plan on driving to Europe and might also need to bring a physical Green Card with them for insurance checks at borders.