23 December 2019News

Ahead of the pack: what Bermuda must do to attract talent

Talent and the need to find it, train it and then keep it on the Island has long been a major issue for the re/insurance industry on Bermuda.

In past years the industry has clashed with various players on the Island, especially the government of Bermuda, over factors such as increasing local recruitment, the percentage of expatriates to locals in many firms and the very number of work visas being granted every year, along with how long those visas would last for. Talent is a key topic.

In our series of stories based around a survey of what readers thought about key topics on the Island, we look at the responses to the last question we asked: ‘Bermuda needs to remain at the forefront of the fight for talent. How can it keep attracting the most talented people in the market?’ Readers could pick multiple answers in the form of four options.

The responses to the question, for which they were able to choose more than one option, were varied. Eighteen percent of readers chose the option, which was ‘Stress that insurance is a social good and not just profiteering’. Forty-seven percent selected the option, which said that re/insurers should recruit more in Bermuda’s schools and colleges.

As we have reported frequently a number of re/insurers on the Island have set up scholarships and intern programmes to encourage school leavers and college graduates to join their companies, which include Hamilton, AXIS and Athene Life Re, among others. Members of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers provided 57 internships to Bermudians in 2018, and the number of educational scholarships in Bermuda they awarded increased in value by 40 percent from 2017, to $1.5 million. That was the highest amount since 2012.

The third option was to ‘Make Bermuda more attractive to expatriates’, which was chosen by 36 percent of readers. This is a controversial topic, as we have mentioned above, as the arrival in the past of increasing numbers of expatriates has prompted political controversy on the Island, along with accusations that expats have been driving up the cost of living and pricing out native Bermudians.

The final option was ‘All of the above’, which was also popular with readers, 43 percent of whom selected it. This wide-ranging approach might be said to be more diplomatic than picking some of the other individual options, but it would be fair to conclude that the issue of how to keep Bermuda at the front of the pack when it comes to talent is a complex one that has no easy answers and which will continue to evolve as time goes on and the re/insurance market on the Island matures.

On the issue of maturity perhaps the words of one reader who commented on this question might be borne in mind. Captive insurance expert Andrew Barile said that Bermuda needs to permit more executives over the age of 65 to work in Bermuda with all their experience.

More on this story

3 January 2020   Hamilton Re is calling for applications from students entering their junior year of university for admission to its 2020 summer intern programme.