Brexit and emerging markets an opportunity for London: Nicolas Aubert

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Chair of the London Market Group (LMG) and Head of Great Britain at Willis Towers Watson, Nicolas Aubert, says London insurers and reinsurers should focus on the opportunities presented by Brexit and feels the London market can thrive in emerging parts of the world, in an interview with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

A report by the BCG and the LMG, recently highlighted the competitiveness of the global insurance and reinsurance industry in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing risk transfer landscape. The report explored London’s position in the global re/insurance sector, and found that while the market maintained its share of global premiums, in emerging markets, London was falling behind other parts of the world.

In response to the findings, BCG discussed London’s position and potential with Nicolas Aubert, Chair of the LMG and Head of GB at insurance and reinsurance broker, Willis Towers Watson.

“I strongly believe that we cannot miss the opportunity of the emerging markets. I don’t think it’s too late; I think this is just the beginning. We probably missed the first engagements, but we’ve got an opportunity not only to recover but to thrive over there,” said Aubert, in an interview with BCG Partner & Managing Director, Paul Clark.

Aubert highlighted the huge investment in terms of infrastructure in emerging markets. With classes of business like energy, aviation, and marine, for example, and the financial institutions of those markets, they are all products, services and business lines that are relevant to the London marketplace.

“So, I think not only we can do business over there, but we are also I think fit from a value proposition point of view to help even the countries within those markets further develop and become more and more mature,” said Aubert.

Unsurprisingly, and exacerbated by widespread uncertainty, Brexit remains a top discussion and challenge for the London insurance and reinsurance market, but Aubert was eager to underline the need to focus on the opportunities it presents rather than the obvious risks and challenges.

“I mean, we need to be honest. Brexit is obviously a big, big challenge,” said Aubert.

“Brexit is obviously, and has already been, an enormous opportunity to strengthen our relationship with government and Parliament. They needed to learn from us. They needed to get information from us on how to engage in negotiations, for example, and what were the key metrics for our business. We’ve been working a lot with them, so we are much closer than before Brexit to the decision makers, and they understand what we can do for the British economy.

“We need to get on with it! There is a risk, but I think that instead of lamenting the risk, we should focus on the opportunities. The more we do that, the more we’ll be successful,” he continued.

BCG was also keen to hear Aubert’s views on the lack of diversity in the London market, and Aubert recognised the issue as “a real problem.”

“For me the answer is relatively simple. It’s about making sure that we assess and identify the female talent in the organizations. We should not do that only at the senior level. We should do that across a significant number of managerial layers so that we build a bench; we build scale and numbers,” said Aubert.

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