Bulk of Irish insurance CEOs expect business growth next year

Majority of insurance businesses are planning to increase number of employees

A top challenge for Irish insurance chiefs includes over-regulation, a report by PwC and Insurance Ireland has found. Photograph: iStock

A top challenge for Irish insurance chiefs includes over-regulation, a report by PwC and Insurance Ireland has found. Photograph: iStock

 

Almost all chief executives of Irish insurance companies expect their business to grow next year.

The 2017 insurance chief executive pulse survey from Insurance Ireland and PwC shows that most expect to expand their workforce. The survey finds that 63 per cent of chief executives are planning some expansion, while 30 per cent plan to expand their workforce by between 5 and 20 per cent.

In line with other surveys, more than six in 10 respondents see Brexit as a business disrupter. However some see it as an opportunity.

A quarter of CEOs whose companies have UK operations said their organisation was looking at relocating operations to Ireland but point out that barriers in the form of infrastructure and accommodation deficits, the high personal tax rate and the availability of talent could scupper Brexit-related moves.

Other top challenges facing Irish insurance chiefs include over-regulation, with almost three-quarters of respondents suggesting the Irish business regulatory regime was more demanding than other EU locations. Cybersecurity and skills availability also featured in the survey as concerns in Ireland’s business environment.

Challenge

The general data protection regulation, which comes into effect in May 2018, is seen as a challenge but also as an opportunity. The role of innovation in the insurance business is becoming increasingly important according to the survey, with 50 per cent of chief executives reporting opportunities in artificial intelligence.

Commenting on the survey results, Ronan Mulligan, PwC insurance partner, said: “One of the key aims for insurers is to be fit for growth and the survey highlights that improving efficiency and competitiveness is top of mind for Irish insurance leaders. The survey highlights that data analytics, artificial intelligence and automation are key levers for insurance and reinsurance firms to become even more competitive.”

The survey was conducted between July and August among 50 of Ireland’s insurance and re-insurance chief executives.