* Enquiries hardening, expected to firm up in Q1 2017
* Ireland among handful of options for post-Brexit moves
* Insurer Neon adds to list of those considering Dublin
(Adds comment, background, details on Neon, Lloyd's)
By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN, Dec 15 A growing number of global
insurers are considering moving to Ireland and some may choose
to locate European headquarters there rather than Britain
following that country's vote to leave the European Union,
Ireland's central bank said on Thursday.
Ireland is one of a handful of European countries that may
benefit from companies moving away from Britain as it leaves the
EU, and the central bank has said it has seen a notable increase
in queries from financial services firms.
"An increasing number of global insurance groups are
considering seeking a new authorisation in Ireland, particularly
to locate their headquarters for European business in Ireland
rather than the UK," the central bank said in its biannual
macro-financial review of the economy.
Insurers are reliant on so-called passporting rights to sell
insurance policies throughout the EU and several have said they
will need to set up EU subsidiaries if Britain loses access to
the bloc's single market.
Neon Underwriting Ltd, an insurer operating in the
specialist Lloyd's of London market, on Thursday became the
latest to say it was considering a move to Dublin if Britain
failed to get passporting rights in Brexit talks.
Dublin is one of five European cities being considered by
Lloyd's itself, while Lloyd's underwriters Hiscox and
Beazley, U.S. insurer AIG and motor insurer
Admiral have also said they might shift operations from
London to centres such as Dublin.
Insurance firms so far have met the Irish central bank from
a "fact finding perspective", director of Credit Institutions
Supervision Ed Sibley said, but enquiries have hardened a little
and he expects decisions could be made in the first or second
quarters of 2017.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants to
begin the two years of EU exit negotiations by the end of March,
when banks, insurers and asset managers are expected to start
finalising their plans.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said banks may
start to relocate activities to other countries about 1-1/2
years before Britain's departure from the EU if a "hard Brexit"
The central bank said Ireland may also be the preferred
location of some UK banks that choose to relocate within the EU
and may be a jurisdiction of choice for some UK funds that will
likely seek to re-domicile elsewhere in the EU.
It reiterated that owing to the economy's close trade ties
to Britain, Brexit would have a negative impact on employment,
output and incomes in Ireland, even though financial market
tensions have eased somewhat since the June 23 UK vote.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries; Additional
reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Carolyn Cohn; Editing by
Susan Thomas and Mark Potter)