Biggest catastrophe bond deal in history completed in Bermuda
The largest catastrophe bond transaction in history completed today and was admitted for listing on the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX).
The $1.5 billion issuance through Bermuda special purpose insurer Everglades Re Ltd, will provide reinsurance coverage for Florida’s state-created property insurer Citizens.
The 2014 transaction is the third transaction with Everglades Re in the past three years, including an outstanding $250 million catastrophe bond issued in 2013.
The historic deal marks another milestone for the Island’s insurance industry and cements Bermuda’s place as the world leader in the insurance-linked securities (ILS) market.
By the end of this year’s first quarter, the BSX passed the $10 billion mark in total volume of insurance-linked listings of catastrophe bonds, ILS and insurance linked investment funds.
Two weeks ago, BSX CEO Greg Wojciechowski said new catastrophe bond securities listed on the BSX up to that point this year had added $1.123 billion to the total listed volume.
The Island is at the centre of an influx of the “alternative risk transfer” market, the growth of which has resulted in an ever-greater share of the property-catastrophe reinsurance market being claimed by third-party capital from traditional reinsurers.
Citizens has said the 2014 transaction provides coverage on an annual aggregate basis over the next three years, protecting the Sunshine state’s insurer of last resort from multiple smaller storms, unlike its previous capital market risk transfers that provided single-event coverage only.
Citizens also expects to purchase of approximately $1.3 billion in coverage for the 2014 hurricane season.
Steve Evans, founder of the Artemis.bm website, which publishes news, commentary and statistics on the alternative risk transfer market, said the completion of the massive Everglades Re transaction was a “ground-breaking moment for the cat bond market”.
“It’s not just the size of the transaction that matters, although a $1.5 billion boost to first half issuance could see 2014 on its way to a record for the year, it is the fact that this transaction has received so much mainstream press and will have significantly raised the cat bond market profile among other potential new sponsors and investors,” Mr Evans commented on his website.
Having sponsors like Citizens in the catastrophe bond market raised the profile of the cat bond market’s profile, he added.
“As sponsors like Florida Citizens become increasingly committed to using the capital markets within their reinsurance arrangements we can expect others to take note and seek to follow suit,” Mr Evans wrote.
“One day we might see multiple cat bonds of $1 billion-plus issued each year, there are enough large reinsurance programmes out there which could tap the ILS market if they wanted to.”
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