Expert: island could see new insurance demand
Bermuda is being viewed as a prime candidate to provide a home for a new wave of insurers and reinsurers, should one emerge in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some industry leaders believe a Class of 2020 is likely to be created to meet market demand.
The island saw the creation of new reinsurance companies in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, and again following hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in the US in 2005.
Kirsten Beasley said: “Conditions are teeing up the opportunities potentially for a Class of 2020 or Class of 2021.”
She is head of healthcare broking, North America, at Willis Towers Watson, and took part in a webinar featuring reinsurance leaders that was hosted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency and Rims.
The discussion looked at Bermuda’s role in the industry past, present and future.
Mrs Beasley said the start-ups of 2002, which included Endurance, Allied World and Arch, highlighted the speed to market Bermuda can bring.
Bermuda has a very robust healthcare speciality market with deep industry experience built over the past 20 years, she said.
“At the moment, the markets are approaching healthcare with understandable caution because of Covid and the hardening market. But market conditions create great opportunity for Bermuda to be at the forefront of solving clients’ problems,” she added.
“There’s a great opportunity for Bermuda to help solve some of those capacity issues. Are we looking at a class of 2020/2021 that steps in to fill some of the capacity gaps that we are experiencing now?”
Albert Benchimol, chief executive officer of Axis Capital, said: “The challenges that the industry and the world faces are opportunities for Bermuda.”
He added: “The Bermuda market has always been able to find capital that is willing to accept volatility, and we make that appetite for volatility available for our customers around the world.
“When the world becomes more fearful and afraid of risk and volatility, the value proposition of Bermuda increases.”
Chris Bonard, chief executive officer of Ed Broking, Bermuda, said “We are all hopeful that we see a Class of 2020/21 emerge. I believe it will be here.”
He also believes Bermuda could benefit from the boom in technology and increased online focus created during the pandemic.
He explained: “There is a lot of business out there that hasn’t traditionally been in Bermuda, maybe it was too small to find its way to Bermuda.
“We believe in using technology to bring business over, to put risks at the top of the pile and match risk capital and exposure — allow companies around the world who have not had the ability to access Bermuda, the ability to do so.”
While Heather Kitson, deputy chief executive officer of Convex Bermuda, said: “2020 will go down as a pivotal moment in Bermuda’s reinsurance history. The world is never going to be the same. With great hardship comes great opportunities.
“There is going to renewed and increased investor appetite, and I am really excited to see how the Bermuda story evolves.”
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