Business Irish

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Why the companies have set up here and are staying put with Ireland Inc

"We've made a long-term commitment to Ireland, we have every intention of remaining in Ireland, we remain confident in what the Government is doing to try to resolve the difficulties it finds itself in."

Mark Hewlett, head of Beazley Re, which set up in Ireland in 2009.

"Payroll costs are down, rent costs are down, and although it pains me to say it, professional services costs are down as well."

John Larkin, head of insurance, William Fry

"I haven't seen our parent expressing concerns about the IMF being here, the concern is how did we get to this point."

Stephen Devine, head of TransAmerica Re, one of Ireland's biggest reinsurers

Why they come to Ireland

Met Life Europe

The European offshoot of one of the world's biggest life insurers, Met Life Europe got an Irish licenCe in 2006 and used Ireland to enter the UK market in 2007.

Chief executive Dan Gallagher said the 12.5pc tax rate was "very low" on the company's list of considerations.

"Ireland was well-established and respected, there were over 60 life companies already there, including 47 selling into the wider European Union from an Irish base," he said.

"There was a highly skilled and English-speaking workforce, and a high level of service expertise for the insurance industry in particular."

XL Re Europe

XL Re moved its corporate headquarters from Bermuda to Ireland in 2006, while the main XL holding company moved to Ireland earlier this year.

Mark Berry, who heads up XL Re Europe, said Ireland was picked because it had the "right combination" of factors that the reinsurance giant was looking for. These factors included being a "leading location" with many top insurers and reinsurers already in situ, offering access to all EU countries, and Ireland's corporate tax rate and network of double taxation agreements.

Mr Berry said Ireland's decision to become an early adapter of new EU reinsurance rules in 2007 was "fundamental" in the decision to pick Dublin, where XL Re has $1.5bn (e1.15bn) in capital.


Zurich has a Dublin hub which carries risk for general insurance business written across Europe and creates life insurance products sold in the UK, Germany and Italy.

As a Swiss company, Zurich found it "capital and operationally efficient" to have a base in the EU that gave the insurer access to the single market and regulatory environment.

Ireland was chosen because of its "highly developed insurance market", and "well educated, motivated and English-speaking post- graduate workforce".

"Tax has not been the reason for Zurich to move to Ireland," a spokesperson said, adding that Zurich "through its branches still pays taxes at local tax rates in each country we are doing business".

"The current macro-economic situation" does not make Ireland less attractive, she added.

Beazley Re Europe

Set up in 2009 with three staff, now up to six.

"There were a variety of reasons," said boss Mark Hewlett.

"It's in the EU, it's a good place to do business, it's got sound and strong regulation, a very well educated workforce and a very competitive cost base."

laura noonan

Irish Independent

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