Insurance Ireland hires German lobbyist for new Brussels office

Florian Wimber appointed as head of European affairs and international insurance

German insurance lobbyist Florian Wimber has joined Insurance Ireland as head of European affairs and international insurance and will be based in its new Brussels office. Photograph: Twitter

German insurance lobbyist Florian Wimber has joined Insurance Ireland as head of European affairs and international insurance and will be based in its new Brussels office. Photograph: Twitter

 

Insurance Ireland, the industry representative group, has hired a well-connected German insurance lobbyist to head up its new Brussels office, which the organisation is setting up to have more influence on rapidly-evolving legislation affecting the sector.

Florian Wimber has joined Insurance Ireland as head of European affairs and international insurance and will be based in the Belgian capital, where the group is opening its a new office this week.

Mr Wimber has returned to Europe after 15 months advising Cambodia’s ministry of economy and finance. He began his career with the German Insurance Association, or GDV.

The move comes at a time when the UK, Ireland’s traditional ally in matters of European insurance regulation, prepares to exit the European Union and as the industry grapples with the fallout from Brexit.

It also follows the activities of the Dublin International Insurance and Management Association (Dima), which was set up in 1990 to represent international insurance and reinsurance companies based in the then fledgling IFSC, being folded into Insurance Ireland early last year. This combined about 85 Insurance Ireland members with the 50 or so in Dima.

A spokesman for Insurance Ireland said that setting up a Brussels office had been a strategic objective for a few years, as the group needed to be closer to events on the European political and regulatory front.

EU hubs

A number of insurers, including Beazley, Hiscox and XL Group have outlined plans to establish EU hubs in Ireland to retain access to the EU market following Brexit. However, Ireland has lost out on attracting a number of high-profile insurers, including US group AIG, which has opted to establish its EU base in Luxembourg, while Lloyds of London has selected Brussels.

Insurance Ireland highlighted in correspondence with the Central Bank late last year that its members were devoting “considerable” time developing ways to deal with Brexit, including plans to transfer portfolios of insurance contracts between Ireland and the UK.

While an EU-UK agreement last month on a post-Brexit transition of 21 months to the end of 2020 would allow for contracts to be “grandfathered” for that period at least, it has been reported that a number of insurers in the UK plan to press ahead with the transfer of policies to Europe.

Another key issue is that of data sharing. It remains unclear whether insurance data can be transferred between the EU and the UK following Brexit, even if the latter continues to adhere to the EU’s incoming General Data Protection Regulation.