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Insurance body says firms would be 'significantly damaged' in a Brexit

The International Underwriting Association of London indicatedthat insurers operating in the London market would be "significantly damaged"if the U.K. were to vote to leave the EU, saying the country's membership in theunion provides companies with "substantial benefits."

"If the U.K. were to leave the EU, IUA members are concernedthat they would have a continuing obligation to comply with EU regulations, butlittle power to influence them. This could result in a loss of competitiveness inEuropean markets," Dave Matcham, head of the association, said.

The association said open access to EU markets is important notonly for companies headquartered in the U.K. but also for firms based in other internationalfinancial centers that use London as the center of their European operations.

"Passporting rights within the single market are particularlyimportant, ensuring that firms are not obliged to maintain expensive capital holdingsin each of the EU member states in which they operate," Matcham added.

Other concerns include increased trade barriers and difficultiesfor the U.K. in obtaining trade agreements with other countries.