Royal London's Irish sales up 10pc as it awaits Brexit move OK
Life and pensions giant Royal London's Irish arm boosted revenue by 10pc last year, ahead of the firm's decision to establish a regulated unit here to retain post-Brexit access to European Union markets.
Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK and Ireland with group funds under management of over €116bn.
It provides around nine million policies and employ 3,253 people, mostly in the UK.
At the end of March it said it planned to set up its EU base in Ireland following the UK's decision to leave the European Union.
Previously it did business here through so called passporting of services from its UK-regulated parent.
"By domiciling the business in Ireland we can remove much of the uncertainty triggered by the Brexit negotiations," Phil Loney, group CEO of Royal London, said.
Yesterday, Royal London said new business growth for the business in Ireland last year had been particularly strong - including revenue up 10pc and new business up 24pc.
"We've achieved these results against a protection market that has been decreasing in size which not only points to the strength of support we have received from the financial broker community, but also to our very experienced and growing in-house team in Ireland," said Alex Koslowski, managing director of Royal London in Ireland.
Royal London says it is committed to investing in the Irish market over the long-term, and is in the early stages of discussions with the Central Bank of Ireland regarding separate regulation for the unit here.
Meanwhile, most Irish insurance executives see Brexit having a bright side for the industry here.
A survey of attendees at a business breakfast for the sector hosted by PwC found that almost six out of 10 (58pc) believe that Brexit presents more opportunities than challenges for the Irish insurance industry.
Close to seven out of 10 said that their company's capital structure has not been affected to date by Brexit.
Speaking at the event, Paraic Joyce, insurance partner, PwC Ireland, said there is no doubt that the Irish insurance sector faces challenges arising out of Brexit.
"However, this survey identifies that the majority believe Brexit will bring more opportunities than challenges," Mr Joyce said.
"We have a resilient insurance sector and Ireland needs to work hard to continue to promote the sector as a world-class centre of excellence in which to do business," he added.