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London insurance market facing huge skills shortage

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Interior of the Lloyd's of London building. London business is traditionally conducted face-to-face, and exisiting initiatives to switch to electronic platforms have been slow-moving.

London

THE London insurance market faces a huge skills shortage as it lags behind sectors such as banking in adopting new technology, and Brexit may add to hiring difficulties, a report showed on Tuesday.

London, home to the Lloyd's of London insurance market and many other British and international insurance companies, has been suffering a loss of market share to emerging markets and rival centres such as Bermuda.

London business is traditionally conducted face-to-face, with insurance firms located close together in the City finance district. Existing initiatives to switch to electronic platforms have been slow-moving.

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The skills shortage was at a "'tipping point' that cannot be ignored", the report by consultants KPMG, on behalf of insurance lobby group London Market Group (LMG), said.

Underwriters and brokers would in future need more skills in data and analytics, and there would be less requirement to apply personal judgment of risk, the report said.

London was failing to come up with new insurance products to protect intangible assets such as intellectual property, and needed to poach staff from other sectors, such as tech firms, to improve creativity, the report added.

"London cannot wait for the next generation to grow up and fill the gap," Matthew Wilson, who focuses on talent for LMG, said in the report.

Britain's expected departure from the European Union was also creating "the threat of an outflow of talent from the UK", the report said.

Brexit was already deterring applicants to the London insurance market, Paul Merrey, partner at KPMG, told Reuters. "There's anecdotal evidence that Brexit has made it more difficult to get talent, in particular in technology, from the EU and from other countries." REUTERS