UK: Firms Seeking Authorisation In Ireland Urged To Apply Now (Pinsent Masons Insurance Briefing, 27 June 2018)

Last Updated: 27 June 2018
Article by Nicholas Bradley, Colin Read and Alexis Roberts

Welcome to Insurance Briefing - a fortnightly round-up of insurance legal and business developments with analysis and commentary from the insurance team at Pinsent Masons.

The topics we're focusing on this week include:

Firms seeking authorisation in Ireland urged to apply now

ANALYSIS: Time is running out for financial firms who intend to seek authorisation to operate in Ireland before the UK leaves the EU. At a recent event senior representatives of the Central Bank of Ireland told an audience of firms and advisers that applicants who do not begin the process in the next few weeks will find it very difficult to obtain authorisation by March 2019. Firms were also urged to ensure that they were submitting sufficient information to the regulators as part of their applications, and to consider seriously their plans for investment, staffing and economic substance in Ireland as part of any future business model. Firms will not be permitted to view the Irish entity as a brand or subsidiary, or to delegate as many of their regulatory functions back to the UK as they are perhaps used to. Read more...

IUA Brexit insurance continuity clause available for use

A model 'continuity clause', designed to clarify how insurers will pay claims in the event of Brexit-related disruption to contracts, has been published by the International Underwriting Association (IUA). "This step from the IUA to assist firms in managing their insurance contracts as the UK leaves the EU is to be welcomed. Insurers will still be hoping that a political solution to the problem for cross-border financial services will emerge, and indeed firms will be waiting to hear the UK's plans following the forthcoming June 28-29 summit. However, in line with repeated warnings from insurance regulators, firms are expected to have good contingency plans in place now in preparation for the most difficult Brexit scenarios, essentially on the basis of an assumption of no future agreement." said insurance law expert Tobin Ashby of Pinsent Masons. Read more...

Exemplary damages awarded following serious fraud against insurer

The Court of Appeal has awarded additional 'exemplary' damages in a case involving a "sophisticated and sustained fraud" against an insurer. The High Court had previously awarded compensatory damages of around £25,000 to AXA, to reflect the value of the time it had spend uncovering the fraud. It had, however, dismissed the insurer's claim for exemplary damages, a term used to refer to damages over and above an individual's actual loss. Insurance disputes expert Warren McIntosh of Pinsent Masons, said that the judgment was a "welcome victory for insurers", with potentially far-reaching implications. "Where previously it was understood that for exemplary damages to be awarded the expected profit to the wrongdoer must exceed the amount of compensatory damages the victim might have been awarded, now the prospect of the level of actual recovery of a compensatory damages award must be taken into account," he said. Read more...

Scotland to reform law on personal injury discount rates

The discount rate applied to lump sum personal injury damages awards in Scotland would be reviewed every three years under new legislation put forward by the Scottish government. Under the plans, the government actuary in the UK government would serve as the official rate-assessor, replacing Scottish ministers in the role, although courts would be free to apply an alternative rate in individual cases if "more appropriate in the circumstances". The proposed change in the law comes after insurers criticised the way the current personal injury discount rate is calculated, and reflects similar changes being introduced in England and Wales. The UK and Scottish governments earlier held a joint consultation on the issue. Read more...

Firms seeking authorisation in Ireland urged to apply now

ANALYSIS: Time is running out for financial firms who intend to seek authorisation to operate in Ireland before the UK leaves the EU. At a recent event senior representatives of the Central Bank of Ireland told an audience of firms and advisers that applicants who do not begin the process in the next few weeks will find it very difficult to obtain authorisation by March 2019. Firms were also urged to ensure that they were submitting sufficient information to the regulators as part of their applications, and to consider seriously their plans for investment, staffing and economic substance in Ireland as part of any future business model. Firms will not be permitted to view the Irish entity as a brand or subsidiary, or to delegate as many of their regulatory functions back to the UK as they are perhaps used to. Read more...

'World first' marine insurance blockchain platform welcomed

The launch of a 'world first' marine insurance blockchain platform shows that the insurance industry is moving the technology "from hype into reality", an expert has said.
Tim Roughton of Pinsent Masons, was commenting on the commercial launch of 'Insurwave', a joint venture between EY and blockchain company Guardtime, with support from a number of insurance industry participants. Insurwave will support more than half a million automated ledger transactions and help manage risk for more than 1,000 commercial vessels in its first year, the companies said. Read more...

Prescriptive time limits 'fatal blow' to litigation, court warns

Parties to civil litigation in Scotland must not underestimate the importance of bringing claims in good time, an expert has warned, after the Court of Session dismissed a claim against the former partner of a now-dissolved law firm. Read more...

UK sets out plans for 'settled status' for EU workers

The application process for EU citizens who wish to obtain the right to remain in the UK after Brexit will be simpler than under the current 'free movement' rules, the UK government has claimed. Individuals applying for the new 'settled status' will be asked to prove their identity and that they have been living in the UK for the past five years, and to declare that they have no serious criminal convictions, according to a 'statement of intent' published by the UK government. They will be able to apply entirely online via a government website or an app for tablets and smartphones, or to apply by post. Employment law expert Euan Smith of Pinsent Masons, welcomed the "apparent simplicity and clarity" behind the proposed scheme. Read more...

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