Abir celebrates and looks to the future
The important role Bermuda plays in managing insurance and reinsurance risk globally was emphasised during a gathering of the island’s past and present insurance leaders.
As the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers celebrated its 25th anniversary with an event at Rosewood Bermuda, it also looked forward to “the next leap forward in Bermuda’s risk management leadership”, said Kevin O’Donnell, Abir chairman.
Mr O’Donnell, who is president and chief executive officer of RenaissanceRe Holdings, Ltd, added: “Bermuda reinvented the management of extreme event risk in liability and catastrophe markets. In the future, Abir companies will continue to innovate to benefit insurance consumers and communities around the world, supported by Bermuda’s sophisticated regulator scheme, robust yet nimble governance framework, and the critical mass of diverse talent we have built here over this quarter century.”
John Huff, president and CEO of Abir, noted that Abir members and Bermuda broader insurance market has contributed more than a quarter of a trillion dollars in claim payments to US and EU consumers since 1998. He said: “Insurance consumers benefit globally by our risk spreading diversification that makes insurance markets more competitive.”
Among the keynote speakers was David Burt, the Premier, who said: “Abir doesn’t just represent its companies’ interests in Bermuda, but it also represents their interests globally.
“So when Abir is representing its members’ interests in the US, the UK, or Europe, it is also representing Bermuda, because our interests are intertwined. The government has an excellent working relationship with Abir and we’ll continue to work with business leaders to make sure the Bermuda market remains the leading market for risk in the world.”
Mr Burt also said that looking at the organisation’s first 25 years showed it has contributed to the island’s economy through employment, physical assets, taxes, philanthropy, education, scholarships and community work.
“It’s clear the member companies of Abir have demonstrated their commitment to assisting in Bermuda’s development. Without a doubt, Abir companies are the cornerstone of Bermuda’s economy. It is the government’s hope that collaboration, that partnership, will continue for many years to come.”
Fiona Luck, a former XL executive and currently a director on the Lloyd’s Franchise Board, said: “The formation of Abir was transformational for the industry here in Bermuda. It professionalised everything and everything it does in this community is of the highest quality. I don’t think we can underestimate how powerful that’s been for Bermuda.”
Albert Benchimol, chairman of Axis Capital and chairman-elect of Abir, said: “It’s a time to feel good about what we in Bermuda have accomplished. When I say ‘we,’ I mean everybody here. I mean the government, the regulator, the industry, and the incredible talent in Bermuda that’s really helped us achieve this milestone. And we must carry it forward — we have to make sure we don’t sit on our laurels, that we’re not afraid to risk a little bit, and see what kind of new frontiers we can breach.”
During the keynote sessions Mike Consedine, CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, noted the value of bilateral regulatory agreements that ensure efficiency in regulation which spoke to the quality of the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s regulatory regime.
David Altmaier, Florida insurance commissioner, spoke on the important role Bermuda’s reinsurance business plays in spreading Florida’s hurricane risk around the world, funding recovery from events like Hurricane Irma, and fostering reliability, affordability and accessibility coverage for Florida consumers and businesses.
Meanwhile Julian Enoizi, CEO of the UK’s Pool Re, spoke about the necessity of public-private partnerships to insure against terrorism threats and boosting post event economic recovery.
Sir John Swan, who was premier from 1985 to 1995, gave the closing remarks at the event. Sir John’s administration presided over the development of Bermuda’s commercial insurance and reinsurance sector and its second wave of consolidation in the 1990s.
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