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Dubai a ‘complementary hub’ for insurers

A sizeable number of Bermuda insurers and reinsurers have opened offices in the Dubai International Financial Centre in the United Arab Emirates.

This month a further three Bermuda-based companies joined the list; Axis, Partner Re and Qatar Re.

The attraction is clear. The centre is a financial hub in a strategic location with access to the Middle East, Europe and South Asia. It also straddles a time-zone gap that bridges the major markets of Asia and North America.

Seven of the world's top ten insurers operate offices in the centre, which has a combined workforce of 18,521. There are 1,327 active companies registered at the complex.

So should Bermuda be concerned by the growth of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)?

Bradley Kading, president and executive officer of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, views it as a complementary hub to Bermuda and one that gives access to a different market.

Of those companies that have opened up branch offices in Dubai, Mr Kading said they were doing so as part of “building out a global platform”.

The centre was established in 2004 and covers an area of 110 acres in Dubai. It has its own legal system, consistent with English common law, and its own courts and independent judicial systems. It has a zero per cent tax rate on income and profits and no exchange controls.

Aside from those previously mentioned, Bermuda-based companies with a presence in the centre, either in their own right or as a partnership, include Validus, Arch, Argo Group, and Catlin.

Regarding the opening of a Qatar Re branch office, Nabih Massaad, the senior executive who is heading the company's Dubai office, said: “We are thrilled to be expanding to the DIFC, one of the world's fastest growing reinsurance hubs. Our underwriting platform in the DIFC will give Qatar Re further momentum in expanding its footprint in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia.”

Strategic position: A number of Bermuda-based insurers and reinsurers have set up branch offices at the Dubai International Financial Centre

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Published December 30, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 29, 2015 at 7:30 pm)

Dubai a ‘complementary hub’ for insurers

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