LONDON (Reuters) – British ship insurer UK P&I Club has received approval from the Dutch regulator for a new subsidiary in Rotterdam to ensure continued access to trade in the European Union in case Britain loses single market access, it said on Tuesday.
UK Club is the second specialist Protection and Indemnity (P&I) club to announce regulatory approval for Brexit trading arrangements in the EU. Rival club North said in January it got the green light for its Dublin subsidiary from Ireland’s central bank.
P&I clubs – mutually owned by their members which are shipping companies – have been an integral part of the City of London for nearly two centuries, insuring ocean going ships against pollution and injury claims, typically the biggest costs when a vessel sinks.
“With the expected loss of passporting rights, we have put these plans in place to ensure our members can continue to conduct their business with little or no disruption,” said Hugo Wynn-Williams, chief executive of the new subsidiary.
There are 13 major global P&I clubs, of which six are regulated in Britain and are estimated to account for over half the total market share of an industry that insures about 90 percent of the world’s ocean-going tonnage.
Britain dominates the global marine insurance market and losing access to P&I clubs could weaken its multi-billion pound shipping services sector.
Nearly three years after the 2016 EU membership referendum, and four days before Britain was supposed to leave the bloc, it remains unclear how, when or even if Brexit will take place, with parliament and the nation still bitterly divided.
(Reporting by Jonathan Saul; editing by David Evans)