17 October 2016News

Bermuda bounces back after Nicole, claims business leaders

Bermuda's resilience has been praised by business organisations such as the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) and Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) in the wake of Hurricane Nicole.

Bermuda’s airport re-opened on Friday, October 14, within 24 hours of the Bermuda’s Category 3 hurricane hitting the island on Thursday, October 13. Ferries re-opened on Saturday, October 15.

Hurricane Nicole was one of the strongest storms on record to hit Bermuda in modern times. The storm was a Category 4 hurricane upon her approach, lessening to Category 3 as she passed directly over the island.

According to BDA, no deaths were recorded, officials confirmed, though the storm downed power lines and poles, and caused damage to property, boats and vegetation. Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers helped clear roads and thoroughfares from fallen trees and debris immediately after the storm passed.

“We’ve stressed our resilience before, and we can attest to it once again. Bermuda has a fully robust infrastructure that caters to the modern needs of international business. We’re strong, united and very different to other offshore centres. I’m proud to see this community get up and running within hours of such a direct hurricane hit,” said Ross Webber, CEO of BDA.

BDA reported that an estimated 27,000 homes, or 90 percent of the island’s population, lost power; crews from the Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO) re-connected half of those by Friday (October 14) morning, and worked through the day to complete restoration. Carriers were also working to restore mobile phone and cable networks.

John Wight, president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said: “Without minimising the effects that certain residents and businesses are facing, primarily as a result of flooding, it is fair to say the island came through this strong hurricane relatively unscathed.

“One contributing factor to this outcome is that Bermuda residents have learnt from past events and have done an impressive job of preparing and protecting their assets. Another undeniable factor is the robustness of both the building structures and the building codes in Bermuda.”

Bradley Kading, president and executive director of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR), said: “Bermuda is extremely resilient, with very strong building codes and a culture of preparedness. Bermudians protect themselves, uniformly prepare for storms, and help their neighbours afterwards.

“Everyone uses insurance—which protects people and property and leads to a faster recovery with an economic stimulus. In this way, the island is a role model for other jurisdictions.”

Stephen Weinstein, general counsel of, ABIR member, RenaissanceRe, said: “It’s remarkable that one day after a major hurricane strike, Bermuda is open for business, helping finance disaster risk worldwide, and poised to welcome back business visitors and vacationers alike.

Weinstein thanked the Bermuda government, the Ministry of National Security, the Emergency Measures Organisation, Bermuda Police Service, BELCO and the Regiment, “who prepared us for the storm, communicated about it effectively, and have led a rapid cleanup and recovery effort.”

Weinstein added that one of the most impressive things about the island’s rebound was that all residents benefitted from storm-safe homes.

“The island’s building codes and practices, resilient infrastructure and ethos of community preparation served us all very well yet again, and that’s why Hurricane Nicole was not a human disaster,” he said. “As we see the growing human toll from other recent hurricane landfalls, we hope Bermuda can provide an example so that other island and coastal residents can be equally safe from these kind of storms in the future.”