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Byrne: ‘Bermuda’s political environment has stabilised’

Mark Byrne

Concern about Bermuda’s political environment was one of the reasons that companies decided to move away from the Island over the past four years, but no longer so.That is the view of Mark Byrne, the founder of Class of 2005 start-up Flagstone Re, speaking in an interview with Insurance Day.Mr Byrne was aexecutive chairman of Flagstone, when it relocated its holding company to Luxembourg and based its underwriting headquarters in Switzerland.“Part of the reason people moved holding companies out of Bermuda was to take advantage of European tax treaties and there was also some concern about the political environment in Bermuda,” Mr Byrne said.“My feeling is the political environment has stabilised considerably since those years, so that is not a reason any more.“The only reason to move away would be if there was a tax treaty you could avail yourself of, if your holding company was in Europe rather than in Bermuda.”Mr Byrne’s investment company Haverford (Bermuda) Ltd has agreed to buy a quarter of Bermuda-based Omega Insurance Holdings Ltd in a £50 million ($79 million) deal. If the deal goes through Mr Byrne will become chairman of Omega.Any thoughts of redomiciling Omega, which writes most of its business in the Lloyd’s of London market, would not be a top priority, said Mr Byrne, who described it as a “second-order” consideration that he would probably deal with in his third year.His purchase of a stake in Omega could be derailed by London insurer Canopius, which has announced it is considering a £202 million bid to acquire Omega.Mr Byrne is a well known figure in Bermuda, having chaired the Education Board for a six-month period before stepping down because he felt there was a lack of political will to do what was necessary to improve the public education system.