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Bringing in the business

Looking ahead: Jereme Ramsay, BDA business development manager, has spoken of the successes and ongoing initiatives of agency as it seeks to attract and retain business for the island (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

When the Bermuda Development Agency leads a group to Toronto on November 22, it will be the third roadshow the agency has held in the region this year.

And it will be a further testament to the collaborative approach that has served the BDA well as it seeks to attract new business for the island.

For Jereme Ramsay, BDA business development manager with responsibilities for insurance, reinsurance, captives and insurance-linked securities, the upcoming roadshow will build on efforts that have already brought success.

From his office overlooking Church Street, Mr Ramsey spoke about some of the developments the BDA has managed to achieve during this year, and its ongoing work heading into 2017.

The successes include a new risk management event that will be held on the island next October, hosted by InsuranceERM. Ahead of that is the Bermuda Healthcare Forum, which takes place at Rosewood Tucker’s Point in March.

The BDA’s pursuit of new business for Bermuda includes the emerging markets of Latin America. Mr Ramsay, who speaks fluent Brazilian Portuguese and is competent in Spanish, has a key role in the BDA’s initiatives in Latin America.

Earlier this year, Bermuda was chosen as the domicile for Chile’s first captive; a development that grew from an earlier visit to the country by the BDA.

Mr Ramsay is proud of these developments and others, but is quick to point out that he is but one member of the team that made them happen.

As he discussed the successes he made repeated reference to the power of collaboration and the assistance that other agencies, organisations, working groups, companies, industry representatives and the Bermuda Government have given to the BDA’s initiatives.

An example is the imminent roadshow in Toronto, which will feature industry and regulatory experts from the island. They will meet with corporate executives about the risk management benefits of captive insurance.

The excursion to the Canadian city received a boost in September from an opinion feature in Canada’s Globe & Mail newspaper. It highlighted the strengths and benefits of Bermuda as the destination of choice for the insurance and reinsurance sector. The feature was written by Bradley Kading, president of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers.

Mr Ramsay said the article has helped pique interest in the Bermuda option, and showed the collaborative approach and high level of industry involvement that has worked well to enhance the island’s reputation with the global business community.

“We rely on our industry to get our message out. They have helped us to get to their Canadian counterparts,” he said.

Similar initiatives have borne results elsewhere.

“It’s happening in the US market and Latin America. It is definitely a collaborative effort — very much ‘Team BDA’.

“We have this expertise in the insurance market and we are grateful for the professionals for their involvement.”

Technology is being used to spread the message. Mr Ramsay and his colleagues have created a series of seven webcasts, which last a few minutes each and explain what captives are and how they can be used by companies to cut costs and manage risks.

The webcasts are being rolled out on a weekly basis and feature experts, including Grainne Richmond, president of the Bermuda Insurance Management Association, and David Gibbons, chairman of the Bermuda Captive Conference.

Mr Ramsay said the webcasts encapsulate aspects of the captive market and explain why Bermuda is at the centre of the industry.

“They are a great lead-up to the Canada roadshow, and the message is for a North America audience,” he said, explaining that the agency will conduct roadshows in the US next year.

The BDA team meet potential investors and clients at conferences, forums and similar events, but roadshows often elevate things to a higher level. Mr Ramsay said they allow for greater targeting of business prospects.

“We have an audience that we can interact with. Businesses have unique risk needs and we can speak with them directly and answer specific questions.”

Latin America is a priority for the BDA. As previously mentioned, the agency has visited Chile and Colombia, resulting in Bermuda being the chosen domicile for Chile’s first captive.

“It was attributed to a roadshow we had in Chile. It was a huge win for Bermuda and the manager who worked on that deal.”

The BDA is looking to return to Chile next year, and a webcast series similar to the one for North America, but focused on Latin America, will begin next month.

In September, Bermuda hosted the Alarys Congress. It is the biennial conference for risk managers from countries across Latin America. Bermuda is the only non-Latin jurisdiction to host Alarys.

The captive sector continues to expand. Globally there are between 5,000 and 6,000 captives, and Bermuda is the leading jurisdiction for captive domiciles.

But it’s not all about the number of captives, according to Mr Ramsay. He said there is also the measurement of the levels of premiums generated. Figures for 2014-2015 show a marked growth in premiums, and Mr Ramsay is optimistic the numbers will rise again in the 2015-2016 data. He also sees continuing growth in the captive sector.

“Many boards are reviewing the captive structure. There are a slew of captives in the pipeline.”

The BDA continues to promote and attract industry conferences to the island, and has secured a new event for 2017.

InsuranceERM, an online resource of enterprise risk management, will host an event on the island in October. Final details are yet to be confirmed, but it is expected up to 200 delegates will attend.

Mr Ramsay said securing the event was one of the highlights of the year for the BDA.

“Contact was made with InsuranceERM and we helped with their reconnaissance when they came.”

He said it was another way for the island to attract business, with professionals visiting and seeing how Bermuda operates.

As for the Bermuda Healthcare Forum that will be held in March, Mr Ramsay said the idea for that event was put forward by one of the BDA’s working groups.

The forum will provide a platform to hear about trends, he said, adding: “The aim is to get 100 insurance buyers on the island, I think it will surpass that number.”

Cyber insurance is another niche area the BDA is developing. Mr Ramsay said: “The idea of getting a working group for cyber is in play, and we are crafting a strategy. It will come to fruition in 2017.”

The BDA is the lead sponsor of this week’s ILS Bermuda Convergence event, as it has been since the event’s inception in 2013.

Regarding ILS, Mr Ramsay said: “We had a successful roadshow in Hong Kong and Singapore, and there were active business meetings.”

He said the BDA was proud of the ILS industry report it commissioned this year. ‘Leading the Way: Bermuda’s ILS Market 2016’ showed the ILS industry had generated at least 400 jobs on the island by the end of last year.

Reflecting on the achievements of 2016, and casting his eye to the year ahead, Mr Ramsay said: “We have had a busy year, and we are looking to do more in 2017.”