“At this advanced stage of the game, it would be foolish to ignore the very real possibility of no deal for the UK,” said Christopher Croft, LIIBA ceo.
In a statement accompanying the trade group’s mid-year report, Croft said: “That¹s why we¹re encouraging our members to address this scenario now.” LIIBA has been in talks with the Belgian government and regulators to help brokers considering Brussels as an EU hub, but Croft said: “LIIBA will be pursuing a more in-depth exploration of whether Athens or Piraeus could prove a viable alternative location."
As Piraeus is the home of the world’s biggest group of shipowners controlling the world¹s largest fleet, a number of LIIBA members already have operations in the port city, as the trade body represents brokers accounting for one-third of global marine insurance premiums.
While the Lloyd’s of London commercial insurance market is setting up an EU subsidiary in Brussels to start writing business from January 2019, and other large insurers are also setting up EU hubs in centre’s such as Luxembourg and Dublin, in the event that Britain loses access to the EU’s single market after Brexit, brokers have generally been slower to set up such units.
But, as Seatrade Maritime News reported earlier this week, The London P&I Club has chosen Cyprus to ensure continued access to trade in the EU in case Britain loses single market access. "We have chosen Cyprus to establish our new post-Brexit EU subsidiary, and we are currently going through the process of setting it up and obtaining the necessary license," London Club said in a statement.
Greece’s Shipping and Island Policy minister, Panagiotis Kouroumplis, has met with representatives of the London insurance market in the UK and in Greece, as part of an effort to woo them to work out of Greece, and further increase their local presence.