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Lloyd’s boss: Insurance industry to grow threefold

The insurance market is set to grow to a massive $2 trillion in just over a decade, the chairman of London insurance hub Lloyd's told a Bermuda conference.

John Nelson said that the market stood at $600 billion at the moment — but economic powerhouses like China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey offered major opportunities because they were among the least insured nations in the world.

Mr Nelson added that regulation was “good for our industry, is good for London and good for Lloyd's”.

But he said that regulation was linked to a “worrying outbreak of protectionism, particularly in Asia”.

Mr Nelson added: “It often cloaked in regulation, but in practice we are seeing signs of some countries protecting domestic industry at the cost of trade liberalisation”.

He said that cross border capital flows fell from $11.8 trillion in 2007 to $4.6 trillion in 2012, while cross border trade was being hit by a rise in trade barriers.

Mr Nelson added: “Economies thrive when markets are open. Protecting domestic economies doesn't work, no more so in insurance, where in the longer term, diversifying risk outside a country is good economics.”

And he told an audience of 400 leaders in the industry: “I believe the future facing London and Bermuda — indeed the industry as a whole — is a bright one. We have a truly extraordinary opportunity over the next decade.”

Mr Nelson was speaking at the first Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) Insurance Seminar — “Understanding the New Normal in Insurance and Reinsurance” — held last week at the Fairmont Southampton. Andrew Bailey, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and CEO of the UK's Prudential Regulation Authority, also spoke.

Mr Bailey told the conference that the mainstream insurance industry did not cause — or result from — failures in the mainstream insurance market.

But he said that firms that had expanded into non-traditional areas — like AIG — and some reinsurers had shown what could go wrong with diversification outside the traditional market.

BMA CEO Jeremy Cox said the seminar was a “fantastic success” and “a reputational game changer”.

Mr Cox added: “It is a testament to the reputation of both the international insurance market and the BMA that we were able to attract such London heavyweights to Bermuda.”

And he said: “Our speakers did a fine job of helping to raise the level of understanding of the new normal in the in the risk transfer industry.

“But they did something else too. They willingly engaged in an open, unscripted public conversation about the drivers of change. And that's a format that can challenge even the most practised speakers.

“If there's a common thread running through all the deliberations, it is that this is surely an industry that is never still, that is in perpetual motion.”

Mr Cox said that the BMA would continue to focus on creating a stable environment and fostering strong relationships throughout the risk industry.

He added: “That, I believe, is the only way we can ensure that, together, we respond effectively to the pressures and forces that are shaping the financial services landscape.”

Mr Cox said: “While it is true the Authority is not usually in the business of staging conferences and seminars, our stated mission is to enhance the reputation of Bermuda as an international financial centre.

“In my view, that objective was well and truly achieved by our inaugural BMA seminar.”

Economic Development and Education Minister Grant Gibbons — who stood in for Finance Minister Bob Richards, who was at an Overseas Territories summit in London — told the meeting that Bermuda had thrived in the risk industry because it created the right creative and regulatory environments.

He added: “We understand the need for an environment that encourages the growth of the financial services industry and will continue to provide it.”

Opportunity abounds: Lloyd's chairman John Nelson speaks at the BMA's seminar at the Fairmont Southampton

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Published December 09, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 10, 2014 at 6:00 pm)

Lloyd’s boss: Insurance industry to grow threefold

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