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Island’s reinsurance payouts to US: $208.7bn

Bermuda's re/insurers have paid out a staggering $208.7 billion to US customers alone over the past 20 years.

And the industry is paying out a further $31.2 billion in relation to this year's major hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Maria, for which the island's flagship industry will foot about 30 per cent of the bill. About $30.6 billion of that went to the US and Puerto Rico.

The number is significantly higher than the preliminary estimate of at least $25 billion made by the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers last month.

The monumental sums were calculated from a survey of commercial market claims data by financial regulator the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

And the release of the numbers comes at a time when the industry is working to persuade US lawmakers of its value to America, as tax reform legislation likely to add significant costs for non-US reinsurers grinds through the Congress.

The BMA's data also show how the industry has increased in significance in recent years: in the decade from 1997 to 2006, a period which included the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina, claims payments to US customers were $56 billion. From 2007 to 2016, that number almost trebled to $152.7 billion.

This information comes from the BMA's first US Data Claims Survey completed earlier this month. The loss information includes both direct insurance and reinsurance.

The BMA said 250 companies responded to the survey including both commercial insurers and reinsurers, alternative capital entities and insurance-linked securities funds.

Craig Swan, managing director, supervision (insurance) at the BMA, said: “The $30 billion, or 30 per cent, of US losses paid by Bermuda re/insurers demonstrates the key role Bermuda plays in the supply of risk capacity to that country.

“In fact, the survey results show the significance of the Bermuda re/insurance market's contribution to the US over the past two decades.

“US insurers cede risk to Bermuda, diversifying that risk globally, making the cost of buying insurance — particularly property/catastrophe insurance — more affordable to customers living in US danger zones.”

“The Authority is grateful to the companies that took part in the survey.

“This data and the European Union claims data released in September — over $70 billion was paid out by Bermuda reinsurers to EU policyholders and cedants over the past 20 years — demonstrates the valuable role Bermuda plays in diversifying risk globally in an increasingly competitive world marketplace.”

According to the Standard & Poor's Global Reinsurance Highlights 2017, 13 of the top 40 global reinsurance groups ranked by net premiums written are domiciled in Bermuda and regulated by the BMA.

Mega-payouts: Bermuda re/insurers have paid more than a fifth of a trillion dollars to US customers over the past 20 years in the wake of catastrophes like Hurricane Harvey

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Published November 21, 2017 at 1:53 pm (Updated November 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm)

Island’s reinsurance payouts to US: $208.7bn

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