1. Operating locally
The insurance industry in Gibraltar dates back to the turn of the century, when a number of significant insurance companies, mostly based in the UK, wrote risks in Gibraltar via agencies in Gibraltar, as part of their extended overseas operations. With a relatively small population, even today only around 30,000, most of these agencies were founded on the back of personal relationships founded with staff and executives of the insurance companies, and wrote Royal Firemarkunderstandably small portfolios of business. Even today firemarks from the era supplied by companies like the Royal, or Scottish Union can be seen on some buildings in Gibraltar.
In recent years, some of these companies withdrew as their marketing strategies found Gibraltar portfolios too small to sustain; the demand for insurance in Gibraltar nevertheless increased. The opening of the land frontier with Spain, a burgeoning private sector, and increasing personal wealth and property ownership meant that there were still considerable volumes of business to be written, and the market, whilst finite to some extent, is still growing. Car ownership is still relatively dense in Gibraltar and the last twenty years have seen the population move from a predominantly Government-housed situation, to many more house purchases, increasing the need for mortgage and other property-related insurances.
Many of the local brokers and agents still remaining have a long history, and continue to find a home for local insurance business, providing a vital local service to the Gibraltar populace.
Several local operations have also branched out into the hinterland of Spain, most dealing with expatriate English-speaking and other nationalities of client, servicing personal lines (especially motor, household and health) and life business as well as investment products. With a much larger potential client base, this has seen many local firms expand and develop. The Gibraltarian’s natural bi-linguality has been an essential asset in developing this business, given the need sometimes to help clients with officialdom in Spain.
It is from the individuals involved in running the insurance agencies of the latter part of the 20th century that the present blossoming insurance industry in Gibraltar has grown, with many of them involved in different capacities in insurance companies and firms of various kinds that operate from the Rock today.