Leading Australian travel insurer establishes European headquarters in Cork as part of expansion strategy

27 November 2018
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie

In business news, a large foreign firm is opening its EUropean HQ in Cork

Australian travel insurer, World Nomads Group (WNG), today announced the launch of its European operations and headquarters in Cork.

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.

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 (ASX: NHF) with a market capitalisation of approximately AUD$2.5 billion and more than 1,500 employees in eight countries around the globe.

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,” Mr 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,” Mr 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.

Cork TD Simon Coveney, who is both Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, said “this is another great day for the 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,” he said.

Martin Shanahan, Chief Executive Officer of IDA Ireland also welcomed the announcement for Ireland.

“The creation of additional jobs and establishment of its European operations in Cork is a welcome development for the southern region and Ireland,” Mr Shanahan said.

“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,” he said.

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