ABI calls for Brexit protection for 'jewel' in UK crown

ABI calls for Brexit protection for 'jewel' in UK crown

The head of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has called on the government to secure a Brexit deal that will protect the multi-billion pound life insurance industry.

As negotiations with the European Union get underway, the ABI has pointed out that the insurance and long-term savings sector is one of the UK’s most productive industries, adding more than £40bn a year to the economy.

It is also the world’s leading exporter of insurance and long term savings, with an export surplus of £13bn with the rest of the world. 

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ABI director general Huw Edwards said: “The insurance and long-term savings industry is a jewel in the UK’s crown - leading the world in exporting insurance and pension services and helping Britain thrive. 

“The sector provides hundreds of thousands of quality careers, three quarters of which are outside of London. Ensuring the continuing success of such a productive sector is something the UK representatives should have at the front of their minds during negotiations with the EU. 

“The right Brexit deal for insurers benefits the UK economy, thousands of UK employees and all the other businesses the sector supports on a daily basis.”

ABI-commissioned research by economists Volterra has shown individual workers in the industry are around twice as productive as those in sectors such as construction and manufacturing, each contributing between £135,000 and £150,000 to the economy every year.

The industry also provides high-quality jobs, with 86 per cent of the 309,000 workers employed full-time - significantly higher than the UK average of 67 per cent.

More than £3.5bn of UK insurance exports go to the European Union, while £4bn go United States and £5.2bn to the rest of the world.

Published ahead of the ABI’s conference Brexit: The Road Ahead, the research was based on publically available data from the Office for National Statistics and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Jason Witcombe, director at London-based Evolve Financial Planning, commented: “I would expect the ABI to say what they have just said, and they should be supporting their members in that way.

“But I think we need to be realistic that no-one has the first clue how Brexit is going to pan out, and it would be foolish of me or anyone else to try and make predictions based on what may or may not happen in future. This is something completely out of our control.”