11 February 2015News

Belarus event highlights Bermuda’s importance

Bermuda’s reputation as a globally-respected and regulated business jurisdiction has been highlighted at a recent event in Belarus.

Bruce Bucknell, the British Ambassador to Belarus, delivered a welcoming address, along with comments on behalf of the Bermuda Development Authority (BDA).

He described the Island as a world-class financial centre with a sophisticated infrastructure, impressive pool of capital and talent, and a stellar regulatory reputation that included tax-treaty agreements with 80-plus partners around the globe.

“We were pleased to be invited to provide information about Bermuda’s strengths as a top-tier financial centre,” said the BDA’s chief executive officer (CEO) Ross Webber. “We recognise the Island could be beneficial to Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, for their reinsurance needs, in particular, and therefore we welcomed the opportunity to put forward the facts about our jurisdiction and thank our partners at the Embassy and the British-Belarus Chamber of Commerce.”

While the region could represent a new source of business for Bermuda reinsurers that might help fulfill catastrophe risk management needs, observers say CEE central banks and government agencies and regulators are so ill-informed about the Island—and the global reinsurance market generally—that they black-list the jurisdiction, unaware of its global regulatory credentials.

“This was a very important step for familiarising CEE countries with Bermuda, as well as increasing the level of understanding about Bermuda’s importance in the global reinsurance and ILS world,” said Kirill Savrassov, who helped organise the event as president of the British-Belarus Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Bermuda-based reinsurer Phoenix CRetro. “As a Bermuda company, we are proud to help promote Bermuda as a business destination in general, and as the  world’s risk capital in particular.

“It could work both ways as Bermuda reinsurers could offer quality capacity for reinsurance of CEE companies as cedants, and regional insurers or capital providers could start playing on the global cat market using well established and regulated structures existing in ILS and developed in Bermuda.

“With low penetration in the region, some practices like cat bonds issuance, for example, would be the most effective solution for CEE and CIS governments as these would allow ‘blanket’ protections in cases of particular natural catastrophes that otherwise would be barely available to these regional governments.”