QBE to expand Brussels branch, establishing Belgian capital as its new EU base

Oliver Gill
Follow Oliver
Sydney Swans And QBE Announce Partnership With NSW Shifts
QBE's largest continental Europe branch is already in Brussels (Source: Getty)

Business insurance specialist QBE has picked Brussels as its new EU base in order to mitigate the impact of Brexit.

QBE made the announcement this morning bucking a recent trend for insurers to select Luxembourg as their post-Brexit EU headquarters.

Key to the selection by QBE was what it called a "long established presence in Belgium". The firm's Brussels branch is its largest in continental Europe with an 80-strong team. QBE said this was "a factor which influenced the final decision, alongside Belgium’s central geographical and political role in the EU".

Read more: RSA picks Luxembourg for EU headquarters

US firm CNA Hardy, a member of Lloyd's of London, this morning picked Luxembourg for its US base. And yesterday RSA followed the likes of AIG, Hiscox and Liberty Specialty in picking Luxembourg for its EU base.

Meanwhile L&G has selected Dublin, with the Irish capital understood to be the favoured location for Standard Life.

Lloyd's of London has been one of the highest profile firms so far to have selected Brussels. It said the approach of Belgium's regulators had been particularly persuasive in its decision.

Today QBE said its selection had been influenced by "a solid and constructive local regulator". Richard Pryce, QBE's European head added: "The National Bank of Belgium has been very constructive and supportive of our implementation timetable.”

Read more: Lloyd's chair isn't worried about the impact of new EU hub on London

QBE is yet to decide how many new staff it will employ. But Pryce said: "We expect to utilise our existing talent in Brussels to take up key roles within the newly formed company.

“Our priority is providing certainty for our customers and staff, and our decision to set up a legal entity in Belgium ensures we can provide continuity of service irrespective of the outcome of Brexit negotiations."

QBE operates in eight countries across Europe. It said its Brussels base will be open for renewals from 2019 and its European operations' headquarters will remain in London.

Related articles