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SPIs fuel rise in insurance incorporations

Bermuda recorded a large increase in the number of new insurers formed last year, thanks to spike in the formation of Special Purpose Insurers (SPIs).

Insurance regulator the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) said yesterday that it registered 54 new Bermuda insurers, up from the 36 recorded in 2010. Of these, 23 new SPIs were licensed in 2011, up from eight the previous year.

The number of Bermuda captives at the end of 2011 was 862, compared to 845 a year earlier.

SPIs are normally used as the vehicles for catastrophe bonds or sidecars, an area which has flourished in Bermuda since the BMA introduced a new SPI regulatory classification in 2009.

The BMA also revealed that the Bermuda insurance market wrote about 10 percent less business in 2010 than it did in 2009.

In the latest aggregate figures for the market, based on regulatory filings, the BMA said gross premiums written in 2010 were $107.7 billion, compared to $119.7 billion a year earlier.

Th decrease “not surprisingly reflected the challenges of a prolonged soft market”, said Shelby Weldon, director, insurance, licensing and authorisations at the BMA, said.

“In addition, the market recorded aggregate total capital and surplus of $185.2 billion and assets of $524.7 billion, year-on-year increases of 1.7 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively.”

Commenting on the market’s business volumes by sector, Mr Weldon said: “The commercial sector wrote a consistent amount of gross premiums, $86.3 billion compared to $87.1 billion the previous year.

“Total assets were $438 billion, up 16.5 per cent year-on-year. Capital and surplus was also up, by 10.5 per cent, from $131.8 billion to $145.6 billion.”

Also in 2010, Bermuda’s captives wrote a total of $21.4 billion in gross premiums, compared to $32.7 billion in 2009.

“This change can be attributed to a combination of the Authority’s continuing reclassification of a number of companies to more accurately reflect their risk-profiles, as well as a decrease in premiums written by particular firms within the sector,” Mr Weldon said.

Mr Weldon added that 2011had been a challenging year, reflected in some companies’ year-end results.

“However, Bermuda’s insurers are successfully addressing global market conditions,” he added. “Also, Bermuda’s commitment to achieving equivalence with relevant standards globally continues to attract quality businesses that see the benefits of being based in a practical, first league regulatory environment that is well-regarded in key international markets.”

Shelby Weldon: The BMA's director of insurance licensing and authorisation

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Published February 22, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 22, 2012 at 7:49 am)

SPIs fuel rise in insurance incorporations

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