London would suffer from Brexit: Kessler

London would suffer from Brexit: Kessler

A UK exit from the European Union would be a "disaster" for the continent and would make London’s re/insurance industry less attractive, Scor’s chief executive and chairman Denis Kessler has warned.

As the French reinsurer’s charismatic leader told listeners at an Insurance Institute of London lecture on Wednesday, the immediate impact of the UK leaving the EU would be minimal. However, it would be in the long term when London’s insurance and reinsurance industry would start to suffer from the so-called Brexit, he said.

“In the short term, not a lot . In the long term, quite a lot,” said Kessler.

The UK’s departure from the EU would create considerable uncertainty in the near term however, and that would take three or four years before stability returned to the market.

But the most significant impact of an EU withdrawal would be to make London’s re/insurance market less attractive to continental customers.

“In the long term it would totally decrease the attractiveness of the city and the UK marketplace for insurance and reinsurance,” said Kessler. “It would affect the city and it will affect London as a place.”

A Brexit may also allow other markets, such as Zurich, Singapore or China, to step in and try to secure some of the business that may become available as they have attractive regulatory environments and can provide access in what is an increasingly global marketplace.

It is not only London that would suffer however, with Kessler saying a UK withdrawal “would be a disaster” for Europe.

“We need the UK to help us maintain a trade market, to maintain some basic economic principals, to avoid Europe being more bureaucratic that it is today, to avoid unnecessary regulation, and so on,” Kessler said.

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