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Bermuda team forges links in Philadelphia

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Insurance focus: Michael Dunkley, the Premier, speaks at the Bermuda Reception at Rims in Philadelphia yesterday evening (Photograph by Scott Neil)

A meeting with the marketing and business arm of Philadelphia’s Chamber of Commerce was a highlight for the Bermuda team at the Risk and Insurance Management Society’s conference.

The discussions included tentative leads that could develop into business opportunities for Bermuda.

Ross Webber, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, said: “There were several opportunities which we will be following up that could lead to tangible opportunities.”

Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and Grant Gibbons, economic development minister, were among the group that met with the Chamber and business leaders at a side meeting while attending Rims at the Philadelphia Convention Centre.

“It gave us a chance to talk about what we do in Bermuda and how we could work together,” said Mr Webber.

He said the Philadelphia area has become a hub for life sciences companies. Bermuda is trying to attract more representation from the sector, such as getting companies to base research and development in Bermuda.

The meeting allowed such conversations to begin, while there were also questions about setting up captives, and about transportation infrastructure and energy operations — Pennsylvania has liquid natural gas resources.

“It takes Rims away from being only about promotion of the island, as important as that is, to getting tangible leads,” said Mr Webber.

Yesterday, Mr Dunkley toured the RIMS exhibit hall and received an official welcome from Mary Roth, CEO of Rims, and continued a round of media interviews, speaking to AM Best and RIMS TV among others.

Mr Gibbons also spoke to a range of media organisations. Uncertainty presented by the new US administration, particularly around possible changes to US tax regulations, and the impact of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, were among topics raised.

“With the US tax issues, it is a case of wait and see,” said Mr Gibbons, who pointed to the role Bermuda’s insurance sector plays in taking risk out of the US and putting capital back in when an insured loss occurs. Regarding Brexit, he said: “It was a question of clarity about how we have direct contact with the EU.”

Mr Webber said: “There was interest in what is happening in the Bermuda market, about M&A and what was the balance. The good news is we are seeing new start-ups and strong [post M&A} insurers in Bermuda.”

The America’s Cup was another big talking point, and the Bermuda booth in the exhibit hall included a large model of an America’s Cup racing yacht, which proved to be a popular backdrop for people to taking photographs.

Mr Gibbons said: “The America’s Cup has proved a lot of visibility for Bermuda.”

Also in the Bermuda delegation were Bob Richards, finance minister, Brad Kading, president of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, representatives from the Bermuda Monetary Authority, Bermuda Tourism Authority and the island’s insurance and reinsurance industry.

Stephen Catlin, executive deputy chairman of XL Catlin was a speaker at an executive leadership panel discussion titled “How can risk management build economic and human resilience?”

Yesterday evening Bermuda held its reception event on board the Moshulu, a square-rigged windjammer that featured in Rocky. The reception was hosted by the BDA, in partnership with the BTA and Gosling’s Rum.

Our reporter travelled to the RIMS conference courtesy of JetBlue Airways, which provided flights between Bermuda and New York.

Team Bermuda at Rims 2017: from left, top row are Brad Kading, Ross Webber, Paul Scope; front row, from left, Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and Grant Gibbons, the Minister for Economic Development (Photograph supplied)