Burt: Bermuda home of insurance innovation
The insurance industry is changing and Bermuda is evolving with it.
That was one of the messages that David Burt, the Premier, gave to risk professionals at the insurance industry’s largest annual gathering yesterday.
Speaking from the Risk and Insurance Management Society’s annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, Mr Burt told The Royal Gazette that innovation was a hot topic.
“The world is changing and the insurance industry is changing, but we want Bermuda to remain a centre of insurance and a home to innovation,” Mr Burt said.
“Bermuda is a place where companies can develop new products and ideas.”
Mr Burt said there had been great interest from risk professionals in the island’s moves to establish a regulatory framework for crypto-business, as described in a consultation paper on the proposed Virtual Currency Business Act, published by regulator the Bermuda Monetary Authority last week, and the implications for insurtech.
The Premier of Bermuda’s walkabout around the Rims exhibition hall has become a tradition of the second day of Rims and Mr Burt said he enjoyed the occasion.
“We visited many booths related to Bermuda, including banks and other local companies,” Mr Burt said.
“I heard the stories from companies that had started up with two people and were hiring more and companies who were winning business because we have the highest standards of regulation, and established players who have been in the market a while.
“I spoke with a senior executive from Chubb, who was looking at how to direct more of their business to Bermuda.
“We made sure to remind people that in an unstable world, Bermuda offers certainty and world-renowned regulation.”
The Premier led a large Bermuda delegation, including Wayne Furbert, junior finance minister; Shanna Lespere, chief operating officer of the BMA; Paul Scope, chairman of Bermuda Business Development Agency and Willis Bermuda; John Huff, CEO of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers; and Ross Webber, CEO of the BDA.
Mr Webber said it had been a team effort with company rivalries set aside in the interests of promoting the island.
“We have more than 100 Bermuda-based representatives as part of our delegation, either helping out in the Bermuda booth or participating in our forum,” Mr Webber said.
“The private sector dedicates significant resources and time to represent the island as a unified collaboration. This is strengthened considerably by such a prominent government and regulator presence.”
Ms Lespere, like the Premier, said she had encountered a lot of interest in fintech developments.
“It’s been a productive experience and gave us an opportunity to meet with risk professionals and discuss the value-add of Bermuda’s regulatory strength,” Ms Lespere said.
“Some questions we received centred on the consultation papers on the Virtual Currency Business Act — the consultation period is open and we’ll be interested to hear what the industry has to say.”
The paper has been published on the BMA website, www.bma.bm, and the consultation period runs through May 2.
For the first time at Rims, Bermuda staged two panel discussions at the conference, which draws around 10,000 risk professionals.
The first was on “Bermuda’s Captive Insurance Solution”, and was moderated by Brian Quinn, managing director of Granite Management. The panel included David Gibbons, partner, PwC; Al Gier, president, General International; Sophia Greaves, director, Conyers Dill & Pearman; and Ms Lespere.
The second panel, “Bermuda: The World’s Risk Capital”, focused on trends and issues impacting global insurance and reinsurance companies in Bermuda, and the outlook for this year. Moderated by Mr Scope, the panel included Cathy Duffy, senior vice-president, underwriting manager, XL Catlin; Judy Gonsalves, chief underwriting officer, Chubb Bermuda; Mr Huff and Ms Lespere.
On Monday, the Premier and delegation leaders were invited to San Antonio’s City Hall to meet Mayor Ron Nirenberg. They were also interviewed by business and industry media, including Thomson Reuters, Reactions, Business Insurance, and AM Best TV, along with Rims TV.
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