Concerns have been raised about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on the Irish insurance sector.59 UK or Gibraltar-registered firms are active in the insurance market in Ireland, according to figures from the Central Bank.

It is not known how many of these have made contingency arrangements to allow them to operate in Ireland if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.

There are also 57 UK-registered credit institutions that are currently providing services in Ireland.

These firms have approximately 145,000 customers, primarily holding deposit accounts.

It is also unknown how many of these have taken the appropriate measures to allow them to continue to operate in the Irish market in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

This information is contained in an answer to a Parliamentary Question provided by the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, to Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath.

These companies would lose their access to the Irish market in the event of a no-deal Brexit if they do not make contingency arrangements, Mr Donohoe said.

The Central Bank has said a number of companies have taken such measures – which include seeking authorisation in an EEA member state, transferring the book business to a regulated entity, or closing, or intending to close, their accounts.

The financial regulator has said it expects more companies to follow suit as the Brexit deadline approaches.

In the event of a hard Brexit scenario, any credit institutions that fail to take such measures would lose their automatic right to provide services in European Economic Area member states.

The Central Bank has said it is each firm’s own responsibility to acquire the appropriate authorisation and the failure to do so is a criminal offence.

Mr McGrath has said it is particularly worrying that we do not know how many of the 59 UK-regulated insurance firms have so far managed to restructure their affairs in order to manage a potential no-deal Brexit.

“If some of these firms are locked out of the Irish market following Brexit, it is Irish policyholders who will again suffer the most by way of reduced choice and higher premiums,” he said.

The Cork South Central TD said that he has put down a further question to Mr Donohoe asking how many of the firms involved have fully prepared for a no-deal Brexit.

Mr McGrath also said any reduction in the level of competition in the financial services market in Ireland as a result of a disorderly Brexit will not be to the benefit of Irish consumers.

Journalist – Peter Farrell