Post-Brexit, Irish cities such as Cork could become gateways to the European single market.
Australian travel insurance player World Nomads Group (WNG) is planning to generate more than 60 new jobs in Cork in the coming 18 months with the establishment of its new European operations and headquarters in the city.
The new Cork-based operation will directly manage the company’s European travel insurance business with the establishment of a managing general agency (MGA) in Ireland.
‘We are currently migrating our European travel insurance arrangements from the UK and continental Europe to our Cork office. We estimate this will involve the transfer of more than 100,000 policies’
– BERNARD O’SULLIVAN
The company has hired 20 people and envisages that this will grow to 80 in the next year and a half.
WNG is part of the Nib Group, a leading health and travel insurance company based in Australia. Nib is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange with a market capitalisation of approximately A$2.5bn and more than 1,500 employees in eight countries around the globe.
On a WNG and a post-Brexit prayer
WNG’s general manager for Europe, Bernard O’Sullivan, said the establishment of the European base and MGA capability will significantly increase capacity, allowing the business to operate in these markets.
“The MGA will see our business not only distribute and sell travel insurance in Europe, but also provide all claims and insurance services to our travellers. We think this is critical to owning the end-to-end experience, and providing great service and assurance to our travellers,” O’Sullivan said.
WNG will manage all the functions of a travel insurer to its European customers such as product design, pricing, customer service, claims and emergency assistance. It will partner with specialist organisations to carry the underwriting risk. The MGA will also allow the business to partner with more European-based brands to offer travel insurance to their customers.
“We are currently migrating our European travel insurance arrangements from the UK and continental Europe to our Cork office. We estimate this will involve the transfer of more than 100,000 policies,” O’Sullivan said.
“We have already employed more than 20 high-quality staff in Cork to support our operations. We expect this to increase to more than 80 staff over the next 18 months,” he added.
WNG’s European MGA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and passported into Europe. It is also an authorised coverholder at Lloyd’s of London.
An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, TD, described the expansion as a great day for the local Cork economy. “It demonstrates the value and attractiveness that Cork and Ireland have to offer to major companies wishing to operate in Europe. This is very important for the Irish economy especially within the context of Brexit,” Coveney said.
In the context of Brexit, IDA CEO Martin Shanahan said Ireland is preparing to become the key gateway to Europe. “This announcement also shows the market that financial services companies like WNG can establish here quickly in order to service their international and European customers, with minimum disruption post-Brexit.
“Ireland has the right mix of regulation, skills, experience and office space to make us an obvious choice for financial services to locate, and further demonstrates our importance as a gateway to the European single market,” Shanahan added.