The recent approval of the European Union Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD) will give intermediaries a passport to trade across the EU by registering in their own member state.
The passport is one of the key objectives of the IMD, which will also provide a blueprint for general and health insurance regulation in the UK. The IMD lays down standards that must be achieved by intermediaries to receive registration. These include possession of professional indemnity insurance, or any other comparable guarantee against professional negligence liabilities, of at least h1m per claim and h1.5m per year for all claims. They will also be required to specify accurately and clearly in writing why they are recommending particular insurance products.
Harold Krauss, director of Bipar, a pan-European insurance intermediaries trade association, said: “The UK has been widely seen as having very knowledgeable and qualified advisers. The passport will therefore help advisers who want to service their clients who have a second home or live abroad, without the need to apply for a separate licence in that country. This will boost their business.
“However, foreign IFAs that have already begun to move into the UK advice market will also find it even easier to do so.”
Dublin-based Inora Life, owned by Societe Generale, published research earlier this year on the opportunities abroad for intermediaries.
The company said that there was a multi-million pound market of UK expatriates living on the continent who had lost touch with their adviser back home. There are an estimated 900,000 UK expats in Spain, 110,000 in Frankfurt and 60,000 in Paris, according to Inora Life.