July 29, 2021

Bermuda’s ILS conference delegation larger than Cayman Islands’, other rivals

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rglogo1By Scott Neil The Royal Gazette

A sizeable delegation from Bermuda has been drumming up business for the Island at one of the world’s most significant insurance linked securities conferences.

Around 75 delegates, and a further two dozen or so Island representatives, have been in New York City this week for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s Insurance and Risk Linked Securities Conference.

Bermuda had the weight of numbers on its side with such a sizeable contingent, noticeably larger than rivals such as Cayman, Switzerland and the UK. But it wasn’t just a numbers game. Bermuda was able to offer up access to an impressive array of key players for potential clients in the insurance linked securities (ILS) market.

Island-based investment mangers, reinsurance executives, lawyers, the head of the Bermuda Stock Exchange and leading representatives from the Bermuda Monetary Authority presented a united front to potential customers.

And the event acted as a perfect precursor for what will be Bermuda’s first ILS conference later this year, Convergence 2013, on November 14.

“We’ve seeing an incredible pickup in business in the insurance-linked securities market, and a lot of that is coming to Bermuda,” said Jason Carne, managing director of KPMG in Bermuda, who has attended the New York conference for the past five or six years.

Attracting such business to Bermuda can mean more jobs and revenue for the Island, he said. It also represents opportunities for KPMG.

Mr Carne said the real value of being at the New York event came from networking, both within the conference and outside. He cited discussions he had with a hedge fund firm looking to invest in the Bermuda economy through an investment vehicle.

There is plenty of competition for a slice of the insurance linked securities (ILS) sector pie from the likes of the Cayman Islands and Dublin. But Mr Carne pointed out: “Bermuda is better than most.”

He is co-chair of the group planning Bermuda’s Convergence 2013 event, which will coincide with a natural movement to the Island of audit committees and key executives in November. “We have a world-class group determined to make it ‘the’ ILS event globally,” he said.

The Island has done a lot of spade work in recent years to avail itself to the rapidly growing ILS market.

From a regulatory standpoint things moved up a gear with the addition of the special purpose insurer classification to the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s (BMA) insurance regulation regime in 2008/09.

Leslie Robinson, BMA’s assistant director of insurance licensing, was another of the Bermuda delegates in New York. She said having a presence at the conference served a number of functions for the BMA and Bermuda.

“It allows us to support the market and speak to clients about the regulatory aspects. Having a presence lets people know Bermuda is open for this type of business,” she explained.

“The other part is educational. Our staff learn about the types of clients that are setting up these types of [investment] vehicles.”

Greg Wojciechowski, CEO of the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX), has seen the number of ILS structures listed on the exchange grow from zero to nearly 40 in the past five years. The value of those securities is now around $6 billion.

“We have captured a significant part of the [$16 billion] market. Cayman are our competition,” he said.

Bermuda’s reputation for good regulation, and its established stock exchange, are important pluses for the Island, according to Mr Wojciechowski.

He viewed his presence at the conference as playing a part in showing potential clients that Bermuda has a united front. With senior figures from the Island’s reinsurance sector, investment managers, the BMA and lawyers all present and working in a symbiontic fashion, he believed Bermuda strengthened its allure to new ILS business.

That point was echoed by another delegate from Bermuda, Brad Adderley, of Appleby Insurance team. “If a client is here and is not sure if they will use Cayman or Bermuda, we get hired. We have the BMA and the BSX here, it’s like a one-stop shop. No one has the same size contingent as Bermuda.

“We are meeting live prospects who are doing deals. It is extremely beneficial from a Bermuda perspective.The conference is more than just getting together, it is doing deals and it is exactly what Bermuda needs.”

David Fox, information services director with The Bermuda Insurance Market, has high hopes for the Island’s own upcoming ILS conference and the opportunity it offers to show what Bermuda can offer, and perhaps to eventually rival the likes of this week’s conference in the New York Grand Hyatt Hotel.

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United front: Some of the Bermuda delegates at the Insurance and Risk Linked Securities conference in New York this week. The Island was represented by key figures from the BSX, BMA, investment managers, reinsurance executives and lawyers, as it sought to attract more insurance linked securities business to Bermuda.

(Photo provided by David Fox)

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