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Gibraltar’s ILS ambitions should ‘keep us on our game’

Gibraltar: ILS ambitions

A bid by Gibraltar to muscle in on the lucrative insurance-linked securities (ILS) market should “keep us on our game”.

And Greg Wojciechowski, an ILS Bermuda committee member, said: “I don’t know that it’s competition — but it should keep us on our game to provide the best customer service and best value.

“The sincerest form of flattery is imitation, but Bermuda does have a value proposition given its decades of experience in the business and the business world is cognisant of that.”

But he added: “We must continue to evolve our product to meet their needs.”

Mr Wojciechowski, president and CEO of the Bermuda Stock Exchange, was speaking after the Gibraltar government announced it was aiming to become a significant player in the ILS market in the European Union.

The move came after insurance firm Aon stepped in to provide ILS training for Gibraltar’s Financial Services Commission and lawyers and accountancy firms in the UK territory at the southern tip of Spain.

Aon, which also has offices in Bermuda, seconded Liz Frederick, director and global ILS practice leader, who is based in the Caymans, to help Gibraltar professionals with a move into ILS.

Gibraltar passed regulations in 2009 covering special purpose vehicles for insurers, which will be used to help tap the new market for the territory.

Gibraltar’s Minister of Financial Services Albert Isola said: “The Gibraltar insurance industry has grown significantly over the past ten years, in particular the motor sector.

“We are very proud of the progress that has been achieved and we are keen to develop other and complementary areas of insurance. We believe that insurance-linked securities offer one such opportunity.

“I am grateful for the support that Aon has provided in the recent training programme for the Financial Services Commission.”

Bermuda has more than $9 billion worth of ILS listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange and the Island saw a record 51 special purpose insurers (SPIs) registered in 2013.

Bermuda Monetary Authority figures show that new registrations increased across all market sectors in 2013 with alternative risk transfer sectors of the market showing the fastest growth.

By the end of 2013, out of the $21 billion of global ILS issuance, $9.2 billion was sponsored by Bermuda-based SPIs, representing 41 percent of the worldwide stock of ILS.

Gibraltar Finance, along with a number of industry members, will attend the Insurance and Risk Linked Securities conference due to be held in New York later this week.

The conference is regarded as the leading global forum on the ILS industry and is expected to be attended by more than 400 delegates from around the world.