The following is an opinion piece, written by BIBA CEO Steve White.
No this headline is not my attempt to create a tongue-twister as devilish as ‘Red Lorry Yellow Lorry’ (for those of my generation), but is instead an expression of my frustration and concern about the current state of plan to end the transition period.
At the end of July, the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that “a deal at this point looked unlikely” yet the UK has apparently ruled out extending the December deadline to get a deal done. While I’m sure that the talks will continue, we are not by any means certain to get any sort of deal that will help insurance brokers and their customers. As things stand, the UK negotiations are still based on what I have often called a ‘no use to us deal’ because the proposed free-trade agreement does not provide access to the single market and intermediaries are not subject to any equivalence regime.
However, now is not the time to sit back and bemoan our misfortune. Now is the time for action. Brokers need to be clear about what the options are for them and their clients. The opportunity to create a European outlet to manage EU clients has probably passed, however now would be a good time to be proactive with insurers to understand their position and be clear about the Brexit implications for clients. Brokers will not want their clients’ cover to face the cliff-edge of a no-deal and there are still options such as working with the Worldwide Broker Network to manage EU-based risks or clients.
Uncertainties remain for UK clients and businesses too. No sooner might businesses start to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 than they potentially begin to face supply issues and the need to stockpile goods, which has insurance cover implications.
Hauliers, in particular, could be faced with new bureaucracy and even personal customers may need reminding that they could need a green card (fortunately now legitimately available on white paper) and travel insurance to pick up where EHIC cards once were used.
It’s not quite out of the frying pan into the fire but there remain challenges ahead and information and preparation are essential. BIBA is updating our Brexit microsite and our Brexit committee will continue to monitor the ongoing negotiations.