The bulk of news reports appear to suggest that Brexit offers nothing other than doom and gloom for the insurance industry in the UK. However, one man sees things a little bit differently.
That man is John Haley, the chief executive officer who merged his US consulting firm with an insurance broker earlier this year to form Willis Towers Watson Plc. He believes that the new company is well-equipped to deal with the shock decision to depart from the European Union and even suggests that the vote may open up new opportunities.
“In the short term, there could be some real potential for upside on helping companies with some ‘what-if’ planning,” commented Haley as part of a conference call with investors. “Typically, our business benefits from regulatory changes, political risk or economic uncertainty.”
It was earlier this year that Haley inked a deal to join Towers Watson & Co, based in Arlington, Virginia, with Willis Group Holdings Plc, an insurance broker with a base in London. At the time the diversified operation was thought to offer numerous tax advantages but since the Brexit vote executives have widely been reassessing the value of a UK base and have expressed concerns that it could open up further trade barriers.
Now Haley is looking to reassure shareholders but he did acknowledge that there would be challenges based on the existing circumstances with the possibility that clients might look to defer projects amid ongoing uncertainty. In addition, a weaker economy could place pressure on the company’s revenue with another leading broker, Aon
, suggesting prior to the vote that Brexit could threaten the UK’s dominance of the insurance sector.
However, Haley remained generally positive – highlighting the company’s reach with 39,000 employees across 120 countries. He said the company “prides” itself on having “the agility and nimbleness to be able to, not just to respond to change, but to prosper in it.”
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