WBN’s Europe Region conducted a 2-day conference in London last week, with more than 90 WBN attendees gathered at Allied World Assurance Company’s offices. Bob Finch, of AFL Insurance Brokers, was the meeting coordinator and reports that AWAC sponsored the entire event with Enrico Bertagna (AWAC’s SVP Business Development for Europe) playing a key role in the event’s success.
Wearing a second hat as publicist, Bob also secured the following coverage in one of the UK’s leading insurance publications.
WBN CONFERENCE TACKLES UK’S RELATIONSHIP WITH EUROPE
Author: Emmanuel Kenning Source: Insurance Age | 06 Feb 2014
Attendees heard from MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Over 90 European attendees from the Worldwide Broker Network (WBN) gathered at Allied World Assurance’s offices in London earlier this week to network and address European issues.
Bob Finch, managing director of AFL Insurance Brokers which is a member of WBN, told Insurance Age the event was ”an opportunity to get back to basics and focus on Europe for the day”.
He added: ”[It is about] networking and an opportunity to get together and discuss European-specific issues.”
WBN defines itself as the world’s largest fully integrated network of independent property and casualty and employee benefits brokers in the world. It has members located in almost 90 countries and offices in over 500 cities around the globe.
According to Finch, son of Alec Finch who was one of the founders of WBN, the day also provided members with the opportuntities to address logistical matters for the network.
And on the topic of the challenges for UK brokers of conducting business abroad he commented: ”Finding a trusted local partner that adheres to and appreciates your own service levels is generally a big challenge.
”It is one of the beauties of the network that when you join you commit to a certain standard of service. It is a matter of education on the territories that you are working in – having someone who is able to give you all that information is invaluable.”
The day also included ”thought-provoking speeches giving a backdrop to the relations between European countries”.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, conservative MP for North East Somerset, was one of the keynote speakers.
In a wide ranging address, he looked at the historical developments since the Magna Carta to compare the law-making situations in the UK and continental Europe.
Describing himself as not being like UKIP – ”I’m not out at any cost” – when questioned he tackled the potential ramifications for insurance should a referendum be held in 2017 and the UK voted to leave the European Union.
”The advantage for the insurance sector is you would have better regulation,” he detailed.
”Being free of financial services regulation in the broadest sense, from Europe, would benefit the UK. We would be able to regulate at a level more appropriate for a genuine international market.”
Rees-Mogg also listed the risks that would occur should a vote to leave ever take place.
”The risks are that Europe is so cross that we have left that it decides to punish us,” he said. ”That is a possible risk. They could put up huge trade barriers.”
However, according to him the possibility of such a scenario would be ”unlikely”.
”The real issue is Germany and France. I think the strength of our position with regards to that is we buy much more from the French and the Germans than they buy from us.
”If the EU said we are going to put up trade barriers then the German auto industry would be absolutely furious and they’d lose tens of thousands of jobs.”
While accepting that there would be ”strong reasons to think trade may have some changes” he concluded: ”It may go to the WTO tariff rather than the EU free trade but I think the benefits of deregulation would outweigh that.
”I think the task really for the government is to get a renegotiation that makes that unnecessary.”