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A record number of participants attended the Bermuda Captive Conference, which was held in a virtual format for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organisers said that just under 900 people, from more than 30 countries, were part of the three-day digital gathering this month.

The event attracted captive insurance owners, risk managers, brokers, captive managers, service providers, sponsors, and vendors from Fortune 500 companies.

The conference has traditionally been staged in June at the Fairmont Southampton, but was postponed to September due to the global health crisis. It was also decided to make it a fully-digital format.

Conference organisers were Gemma Godfrey and Brooke Dawson, of The Whitfield Group.

Ms Godfrey said: “It started with questions from sponsors in late January, and by mid-March we knew that we would not be able to go ahead with the June event.

“Our team worked quickly and relentlessly, restructuring the event completely to optimise and deliver the best virtual experience possible. A huge feature of large conferences such as the Bermuda Captive Conference is the ability to network and make connections, so we knew this was a key consideration in defining our technology solution.”

Ms Dawson, creative director, said: “The virtual event was designed to look and feel like an event in Bermuda. We wanted to create a custom, visually-rich experience for attendees, helping them to feel connected to Bermuda, even if they couldn't be there in person.

“Sponsors all had their own customised virtual booths and attendees were able to reach out and connect to each other for one-on-one chats, or networking discussions as part of a group. A combination of live and on-demand sessions was available to attendees each day.

Conference chairwoman Leslie Robinson said: “Despite all the challenges and uncertainty, the 16th event has been hailed a huge success. We've received very positive feedback on the virtual platform so far from attendees and participants, who joined us from every corner of the globe. Although we are sad not to be welcoming our guests physically to Bermuda this year — we remain optimistic that Bermuda will remain open for business and look forward to welcoming everyone back in June 2021.

The conference reached more than 200 captive owners, both Bermuda-domiciled and from other jurisdictions. The Bermuda Captive Owners Association hosted an exclusive lounge for captive owners at the event and offered free membership to every captive owner attending the conference.

Grainne Richmond, vice-president of Dyna, who moderated the captive owner panel, said she “found the approach that the Bermuda Captive Conference Committee took with the virtual event struck the correct balance between informative sessions and hearing from our stakeholders, as well as being able to connect with sponsors and attendees through the virtual networking and chat portal. Our panel of captive owners really appreciated being connected with Bermuda virtually whilst unable to be in Bermuda.”

According to The Whitfield Group, a captive owner attending the event said: “Honestly, a superb job given the pandemic. I appreciate you pivoting, innovating and using critical thinking during these unprecedented times. As one speaker indicated, this is not ‘a new normal', it's too soon to tell. Thank you for the education, and the opportunity to hear from many people around the globe. We are all in this together.”

The conference delivered a combination of live and on-demand panels on industry topics.

There was a deferral of this year's inductees to the Bermuda Captive Hall of Fame, an honour awarded to companies committing at least 25 years to the island's market. It is hoped inductees will be acknowledged in a physical awards ceremony at next year's conference.

Ms Robinson said: “This year has been a truly exceptional — with the pandemic showing itself to be the ultimate disrupter, affecting industries, countries, communities and our very way of life.

“Bermuda Captive Conference extends sincere thanks to all local and overseas companies that supported this year's event, as the event could not have taken place without them.”

The Bermuda Captive Conference returns next year from June 14 to 17.

Online event: about 900 people, from more than 30 countries, gathered online for the three-day Bermuda Captive Conference, which was held as a virtual event for the first time (Image supplied)

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Published September 23, 2020 at 4:52 pm (Updated September 23, 2020 at 10:52 pm)

Bermuda Captive Conference sets new record

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