Regulation reducing obstacles to doing business in Europe should be the key priority for the European Union (EU), according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
The European Issues Index, a survey conducted by the ABI, that puts forward views of chief executives of British insurance companies, found there is a strong wish to expand across Europe.
Germany is seen as the most attractive EU market. It is the second-largest insurance retail market after the UK, and is aided by its vibrant mortgage market.
However, the survey found significant obstacles to doing EU business. While 29% cited lack of access to distribution channels as the main obstacle, 22% of chief executives cited the level of regulation as their biggest hurdle.
The situation could be helped by the implementation of EU-wide solvency rules. One-third (34%) of chief executives saw this as the most-needed piece of regulation with a further 30% wanting EU-wide conduct of business rules.
Mary Francis, director general of the ABI, said: ‘The UK retail market is the largest in the EU. Our members are well-placed to seize opportunities across Europe as the single market develops, either through cross-border selling, or through subsidies. However, recent regulation from Brussels has increased the burden of regulation in the UK and across the EU without creating genuine new commercial opportunities.’