We want to keep competing in the EU, says firm creating 50 jobs north of Dublin
A Northern Ireland insurer has set up shop in the Republic so it can continue to compete in the European Union.
Financial services firms, including in the insurance sector, have been profoundly affected by Brexit, according to Coleraine-headquartered MCL InsureTech.
The firm is investing £3m in a new online venture, but the operation of the service and the jobs will be based at a recently opened office north of Dublin.
"UK insurers and intermediaries can no longer passport their UK authorisations across Europe. This has prevented MCL InsureTech from competing within the European Union. To mitigate this, we had to establish a new business in the Republic of Ireland,” the company said.
Financial services are not covered by the Northern Ireland Protocol and were supposed to be dealt with via the wider Withdrawal Agreement. No agreement on equivalency — marrying the EU and UK regulations — has been reached.
"The Protocol has had no effect on our business. However, Brexit has had a profound impact," the company said.
MCL InsureTech’s new GetSetGo venture will be managed from an office in Swords that opened last year. Fifty jobs will be created, adding to the 40 people already hired by the company.
The service is available in Northern Ireland but not Great Britain. The 102 jobs in Coleraine will not be affected by the focus on developing the business in the south.
Across the wider UK financial services sector, companies are opening offices in, and switching operations to, the Republic to stay within EU and Irish regulatory regimes.
Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, said last Tuesday he did not expect the EU to allow UK financial services to be exported.
“On equivalence, I think it’s fair to say that nothing really has moved forwards,” Mr Bailey told a news conference.
Brussels has yet to decide whether rules governing the UK's financial services sector are equivalent to regulations in the EU.
GetSetGo, an online insurance portal, "offers customers a convenient way to purchase and manage car insurance premiums online without paperwork or the need to speak to an advisor”.
"GetSetGo… is available across the island of Ireland, north and south. We do not cater for GB customers," the company explained.
The Swords base opened last February after receiving authorisation to operate from the Irish Central Bank.
"Although Brexit has created a lot of uncertainty in the insurance space, now that we are authorised by the Central Bank, there are exciting times ahead for our business,” MCL managing director Gary McClarty said at the time.
“We have been very impressed with the calibre of the recruits in the Swords area and look forward to developing our business in Ireland.”
As part of the venture’s marketing spend, MCL InsureTech Ltd has signed a partnership deal with the Dublin-based OTB SPORTS network, which includes a podcast, website and daily radio show on Newstalk 106-108fm.