Northern Ireland insurer bids to Brexit-proof business by expansion in Republic
A move by a Northern Ireland insurance firm to open an office in Co Dublin will mean the province loses out on around €70m (£60m) in business, it's been claimed.
The firm behind brands Its4women, 25Plus and BoxyMo said it had opened a Swords office to "Brexit-proof" its business.
MCL InsureTech said it already has hired 24 of its planned 40 full-time positions in the Swords operation.
It said the opening represented an investment in the Republic's economy of £3m and was a result of continued uncertainty around the UK's exit from the EU.
However, the jobs of 102 remaining staff in Coleraine are unaffected by the expansion.
The company had been servicing around €70m of gross written premium and 90,000 customers in the Republic from Coleraine for the last 10 years.
But it said it is switching support for its customers over the border to the north Co Dublin town after receiving regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Ireland.
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
MCL's brands target specific sectors of the online insurance market.
Its4women caters to female drivers and BoxyMo to younger drivers, while 25Plus offers a wider range of insurance products to older customers.
MCL said the move would ensure ease of access to the single market.
"It gives the company assurance that it can access 500 million potential customers in the single market and easily manage its Irish customer base without the restriction of any Brexit-induced regulations," the company explained.
Managing director Gary McClarty said: "The threat of a hard Brexit has forced us to set a mechanism in place to protect our European Union business and in this case it has resulted in the launch of a new Irish entity based in Dublin, and unfortunately the loss of €70m worth of business to the Northern Ireland economy.
"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.
"We will be launching a range of new products and services that will hopefully benefit Swords and the wider area."
MCL said increased investment in IT and contact centre staff is planned for the Coleraine office.
The firm launched Its4women in the Republic more than a decade ago.