We are faced this week with a momentous decision, one that will potentially have repercussions for decades to come. I refer of course to the European Union referendum on the 23 June.
First and foremost, I urge you and your teams to vote. We cannot assume that our vote does not matter or will not affect the outcome it will – please do not leave this decision to others. Take a few moments out of your day and go to the polling station.
Secondly, I wanted to remind you of the BIBA position on the referendum. The opposing sides of the debate have filled our press and media with a plethora of claims and counter claims – some at best mystifying and some, frankly, unsupported by the available evidence.
BIBA is on public record, in our 2016 Manifesto, stating unequivocally that the British insurance broking sector will be better off remaining in the EU. We did not reach this position arbitrarily: it was the result of discussion and feedback from our advisory boards and technical committees, who were strongly of the opinion that a British exit from the EU would be disadvantageous to the insurance broker sector for the following reasons:
- It would lead to uncertainty for businesses, which would have an adverse impact on the insurance market, investment and customer groups whose fortunes are closely linked with those of our members.
- The existing system of insurance companies ‘passporting’ into the UK could cease, potentially leading to a serious reduction in choice for UK consumers.
- It would seriously damage the ability of brokers to place business on behalf of clients domiciled within the EU.
- Brokers need to be able to write suitable policies and have available the EU freedom of services provisions.
- Europe provides access to a far larger pool of skills and knowledge than the UK alone ever can – which UK brokers believe is highly beneficial to retain.
From my own personal view point and, as BIBA chairman, I am firmly in the ‘remain camp’. Quite apart from the wider, powerful arguments about peace and prosperity in Europe and the need for British engagement and leadership at a dangerous time for the world, I believe that remaining in the EU is a vote for business stability over uncertainty. A ‘remain’ vote would stimulate investment and boost confidence that we will be able to continue to trade freely under the EU freedom of services provision.
That would, in turn, benefit both us within the sector and also our customers.
Please take the time to read past the headlines and consider the benefits of remaining in a Union that we can shape to work for us.
Lord Hunt of Wirral