Lloyd’s of London to open subsidiary in Brussels

The historic business endured an extremely challenging 2016
The historic business endured an extremely challenging 2016

Insurance market Lloyd’s of London is to establish a subsidiary in Brussels to maintain a presence in Europe once Britain divorces from the EU.

The company said the Belgian capital emerged at the top of its list after scoring highly with executives for its regulatory framework and access to talent.

The move means Lloyd’s will be able to write risks from all 27 European Union and three European Economic Area states after Brexit.

Chief executive Inga Beale told the BBC’s Today programme: “What we were after was some jurisdiction that had a really robust reputation for regulation, we also wanted to be able to access talent and we wanted really good accessibility.

“Brussels came out top of our list.”

However, she said tax was not a factor in the company’s decision when choosing a new EU base.

Lloyd’s, which employs 700 people in London, aims to start work at the Brussels office from January 2019.

It is believed the move will result in around 100 jobs being shifted from London, though that number could rise as the insurance market establishes itself in Belgium.

It came as the company posted its full-year results, with profits flat for 2016 after wrestling with “extremely challenging” conditions driven by pricing pressures.

Annual pre-tax profits came in at £2.1 billion, the same as the year before, but gross written premiums lifted 11% to £29.9bn over the period.

It said the level of major claims had reached £2.1bn - the fifth highest since the turn of the century and above the long-term average - following Hurricane Matthew and the Fort McMurray wildfire in Canada.