The insurance market in London is booming. Just look up at the phenomenal amount of building that continues in the square mile. Not all the office space is directly related to ‘the market’, but it shows that the London bubble is almost certainly here for the foreseeable future.
It’s estimated that 52,000 insurance and risk management professionals work in the City, which makes it the largest concentration of expertise in the world.
One thing that strikes me on my daily walk through Leadenhall Market is that this is still very much a ‘people business’. I regularly meet with contacts on their daily commute and witness the professional interactions that serve to make the London Market such an exciting and dynamic place to work.
The London Market is one of the most resilient in the world, and it’s becoming ever more sophisticated. InsurTech start-ups are commonplace leaving many of the old and established insurers and insurance brokers contemplating how they can either embrace change or stop the technology upstarts from eating their lunch.
All the chatter is about the need for cyber-attack protection and whether Bitcoin will revolutionise the way financial transactions are handled.
Brexit, the topic that the media seems to hang every twist and turn on, isn’t actually being talked about that much by the senior people I meet.
What does seem very topical is the increasing scrutiny the FCA is placing on many aspects of London Market businesses:
- The Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD), which goes live in February (or at least at some time in 2018). I get the distinct impression that not too many are ready for this, particularly the self-certification of competence.
- Then, of course, there is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), going live in May 2018. This is not simply a marketing or IT issue, and it needs to be driven from the top down.
- If that isn’t enough, there’s the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) which is intended to widen the net of accountability and make identification of wrongdoers much easier. SMCR comes into effect in late 2018.
- And let’s not forget the FCA’s review of wholesaling, which is a key feature of our work in the ‘square mile’ and in London generally.
I have been impressed by how many authorised firms in the London Market are beginning to take these 2018 pinch-points in their stride, and at RWA we are recruiting quality employees to support existing and new clients in meeting these challenges.
RWA has key support in all the UK business centres but being a Londoner myself, I have a passion for working in the square mile and constantly look forward to my meetings here each week.
I think the insurance broking profession in the London Market will meet the challenges even if it does mean a few very long days for my team of specialists.
Head of RWA Solutions (EC3!)