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International insurers are confident of potential for expansion

ALMOST two-thirds of international insurance companies based in Ireland are confident about their potential for expansion, a survey shows.

But the positive news is tempered by the fact that nearly three-quarters said that uncertain economic conditions were the top challenge facing the insurance industry, followed by over-regulation and cost containment.

Despite recent claims about the quality of our graduates, 21pc of insurers based here complained about the availability of key skills compared with 64pc of global counterparts.

IDA chief executive Barry O'Leary said the results were positive for Ireland.

"The research confirms that areas like available talent and increasing corporate tax burdens are not as great a concern for insurance leaders based in Ireland compared to their global counterparts," Mr O'Leary said.

Key findings from PwC's poll of international insurance leaders based in Ireland include:

• A total 62pc said they are confident about expansion prospects for the business, with product innovation and diversification among the key drivers.

• A total 73pc said uncertain economic conditions were the top challenge, followed by over- regulation (62pc), cost containment ( 47pc), investment performance and corporate governance (44pc).

• Availability of key skills (64pc) was the top barrier to growth for global insurance leaders compared with about 21pc in Ireland.

• The increasing tax burden (57pc) was the second greatest challenge for global insurers compared with 9pc in Ireland.

PwC Ireland insurance partner Garvan O'Neill said international insurers in Ireland are looking to product innovation and new markets for growth opportunities against a tough economic backdrop.

Irish Independent