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Experts predict a bumper year for cat bonds

The catastrophe bond market is set to have a bumper year in 2013 say experts with Bermuda at the forefront of the insurance-linked securities industry.

According to an article in trade publication Intelligent Insurer, a strong cat bond issuance supported by high demand is already boosting the market in a year when very few bonds will mature.

“In another week, the cat bond market will be close to $18 billion and the bulk of the issuance pipeline has not been processed yet,” said John Seo, co-founder and managing principal at Fermat Capital Management, which manages $4 billion in catastrophe bond investments.

Currently, Bermuda can lay claim to about one third of the global cat bond market and is looking to continue to grow in that space as evidenced by this week’s announcement that the Bermuda Stock Exchange gave listing approval to $250 million of repeat business. Everglades Re 2013 listed a second Florida hurricane bond for state-backed insurer Florida Citizens. Last year’s $750-million transaction was the largest ever single-peril catastrophe bond deal.

“We're excited about the momentum that Bermuda and the BSX has achieved in this space and that we feel confident that the market understands that we value its business and are partners in helping it to grow and to accelerate convergence in Bermuda,” said Greg Wojciechowski, president of the BSX, in response to the most recent listing.

According to Intelligent Insurer, only $3 billion of bonds are due to mature between now and the end of 2013.

“Bonds maturing this year were, on average, issued in 2010. Since 2010 was decidedly not a big issuance year, we get few bonds rolling off this year,” Mr Sea said to the publication. “The net result is not only a bumper issuance of cat bonds, but also a turbo-boost to the net outstanding size of the market. We are on track for $21 billion in bonds outstanding by year-end.”

Investors interested in higher returns than what they are currently receiving in the traditional equity market are helping to boost demand in catastrophe bonds.

“Until something dramatic happens in the non-insurance markets, these deals will retain their attraction to investors,” said Clive O'Connell, partner at law firm Goldberg Segalla. “At present, there is precious little scope for investment, unless you wish to invest in the arms industry!”

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Published April 05, 2013 at 9:10 am (Updated April 05, 2013 at 9:09 am)

Experts predict a bumper year for cat bonds

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