Ocorian says Bermuda captive growth will continue
Ocorian, the corporate and fiduciary services, fund administration and capital markets provider, has reported a significant increase in the number of captives it supports, with its Bermuda offices delivering particularly strong growth.
Sherman Taylor, head of capital markets, Bermuda, at Ocorian, said that while there are more than 70 captive domiciles worldwide, Bermuda will continue to grow its market share, given the strength of its proposition.
Ocorian’s Bermuda insurance specialists support more than 137 Bermuda-registered captive insurance companies, as well as 93 commercial and special-purpose insurers, a company statement said.
The report said: “Growth in the captives market, in general, is being fuelled by a hard insurance market and rising premiums with companies wanting to take greater control over their insurance requirements to make them more affordable and flexible.
“The number of captive formations nearly doubled in 2020, according to the most recent data from Marsh.
“However, the Bermuda domicile is increasingly seen as a sophisticated, credible and legislatively developed jurisdiction, particularly regarding insurance products, both traditional and exotic.
“The Bermuda Insurance Act is bifurcated into rules that, acknowledging obvious differences, provide for a designated captive framework and one applicable to the larger, more complex commercial insurers.
Mr Taylor said: “A well-run captive can be an effective risk-management tool, reducing group insurance costs for the captive owner.
“However, the commercial rationale for incorporating and establishing a captive extends beyond proﬁt considerations, and the current insurance hard market cycle has created new industry buzz about captives.
“The ability to inﬂuence pricing is a key beneﬁt of owning a captive. Large rate increases were evident in the latest round of insurance renewals, and it is unlikely that rates will come down in the near future as insurance and reinsurance companies are still dealing with the impact of major loss events spanning the past four years.
“It is highly anticipated that pandemic losses will exacerbate the situation and drive even more interest in captives.”
The report notes that in 2016 the European Commission deemed Bermuda’s prudential standards for commercial insurers to be equivalent to regulatory standards applicable to European insurance companies under the EU’s Solvency II Directive. Bermuda is one of only two non-EU jurisdictions to enjoy Solvency II equivalency — an extremely strong onshore endorsement of the jurisdiction.
The statement adds: “The advantages of being deemed Solvency II equivalent are principally that an insurer can elect to have its home, group regulator as the Bermuda Monetary Authority, which allows Bermuda (re)insurers and groups to conduct business in the EU without additional regulatory requirements and, more importantly, on an even playing ﬁeld with existing EU insurance companies.
“In early 2020, Bermuda was recognised by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force for its exceptional work to establish an effective framework to combat money laundering and the ﬁnancing of terrorism and proliferation.
“In February 2020 the Government of Bermuda conﬁrmed that Economic and Financial Affairs Council had graded Bermuda as a ‘co-operative jurisdiction’ with respect to good tax governance; in turn, Bermuda was upgraded to the ‘white list’.
“The Bermuda captive market is particularly well developed and consequently attracts and retains human capital talent, necessarily providing captive owners dedicated access in a relatively small area to quality advice and guidance.
“Captive insurance is not a one-size-ﬁts-all business and therefore dialogue between regulators and captive owners is essential.
“Bermuda enjoys regulation by a credible, sophisticated, and knowledgeable regulator in the authority, who have developed, in particular, a team that has broad insurance industry knowledge.
“As a consequence of which, the jurisdiction is able to provide clear and consistent speed to market for players establishing structures here.
“The authority’s broad knowledge of this particular industry makes them inherently open for dialogue with industry, which is incredibly important to avoid shocks to the market.
“Bermuda embraces technology and innovation, and this is being incorporated into its insurance industry.
“The authority recently introduced ‘sandbox’ and ‘innovation’ amendments to its rules, primarily aimed at insurtech start-ups.
“These amendments reduce barriers to entry for start-ups with new, untested ideas, and provide an incubator for new insurers with innovative business models needing time to develop.
“These new rules include appropriate regulatory oversight, time limitations, disclosure requirements and statutory reporting designed to protect policyholders.”