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Brexit's silver lining: innovation thrives on disruption

Industry leaders debate Brexit amid growing Westminster turbulence

The ongoing Brexit uncertainty presents challenges to businesses across all sectors, but innovation is often driven by and thrives in times of adversity, Airmic members heard at a summit hosted at the House of Lords on 22 October.

In the latest in Airmic's Brexit Summit series, industry leaders heard from an esteemed panel moderated by Neil Sherlock CBE, senior adviser at PwC and joint chair of the Brexit Forum of the French Chamber of Commerce.

The speakers were Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tim Clement-Jones CBE, independent business economist Dr Andrew Sentence CBE, Julie Page, CEO of Aon UK Limited, AIG's head of financial lines UK Geraud Verhille, Ailsa King, chief client officer for UK and Ireland at Marsh, Alexander Mahnke, CEO insurance at Siemens AG, Peter Spires, general counsel at Lloyd's, and John Ludlow, CEO of Airmic.

Insurers are ready

After Lord Clement-Jones had opened by laying out a series of scenarios and possible outcomes from an increasingly turbulent time at Westminster, the insurance industry representatives emphasised the time and investment that had already gone into ensuring a readiness to remain resilient and fit for purpose in the case of a 'no deal' Brexit or a negotiated, orderly withdrawal.

While a gloomy economic forecast was projected, there was a recognition that disruption can be positive and that organisations in various sectors were discovering innovative ways to confront and respond to the challenges head on.

The panel was reluctant to encourage or welcome a move towards deregulation as it was recognised the London Market would benefit from close alignment with the European Union and other international supervisory bodies if it wanted to remain a leading player at the centre of the global (re)insurance sector.

Businesses should take the long view

Airmic's John Ludlow warned that not enough attention was being paid to the longer-term consequences of Brexit. An obsession with decisions that are being made in Westminster today was a distraction from building resilient organisations that will be fit for purpose in five- and ten-years' time, he said.

For risk and insurance professionals, items that should be top mind as Brexit developments continue are the associated emerging risks, the impact on supply chains and governance.