Clarity in changing times: Bermuda eyes new role in the aftermath of COVID-19


Clarity in changing times: Bermuda eyes new role in the aftermath of COVID-19


COVID-19 has presented a formidable challenge to companies and governments everywhere. Despite that, Bermuda has remained open for business throughout, and has demonstrated its value to CEOs and investors, says Roland Andy Burrows, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, ahead of a webinar on the topic.

Re/insurers have demonstrated considerable adaptability in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Things seem unlikely to ever return to exactly what they were before, be that in terms of underwriting, or the relationship between workers and their offices. 

On July 22, the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) will be sponsoring a Bermuda Re+ILS and Intelligent Insurer webinar, titled Clarity in Changing Times: Bermuda’s Response to Tackling the COVID-19 Crisis and Remaining Open for Business. The webinar will explore Bermuda’s response, both as a jurisdiction and in terms of the re/insurance market.

“As a jurisdiction that plays an important role in many global industries, we felt it was incredibly important for our partners and clients in key markets around the world to have an opportunity to hear directly from Bermuda – from the government, our regulator and industry – to understand how we are handling the ongoing challenge of COVID-19, what it means for international business and what the future may hold,” says Roland Andy Burrows, chief executive officer at the BDA.

The webinar will address the key questions that industry players and investors with an interest in Bermuda are currently asking – so it will cover everything from the measures Bermuda has taken, from the government’s decision to designate financial services as essential, to the latest industry guidance issued to ensure business standards. It will also explore the challenges that remain and the opportunities that are emerging as the world adjusts to a new normal.

“Bermuda has experienced similar challenges to those faced by others around the world. However, we are fortunate that the government took swift and decisive action to put in place the tough but necessary protective measures while also recognising the importance of business continuity and operational resilience within financial services,” says Burrows.

He adds that industry players on the island responded swiftly to the changing landscape.

“The speed and the way in which companies here were able to adapt their operations was incredibly impressive, ensuring renewal periods were completed with minimal disruption,” he says.

“International business has remained open throughout this crisis, and new companies are being managed accordingly. As always, I am sure there will be some minor things that with hindsight could be improved upon – particularly as we enhance our understanding and knowledge of the virus; however, the fact that the island is currently virtually COVID-19-free and now welcoming visitors with protection measures in place, speaks to the strength of Bermuda’s response.”

COVID-19 is likely the largest event in industry history, and in order to tackle the challenges it creates, Burrows predicts that the Bermuda market will rely heavily on its deep talent bench in contracts, liability management and litigation. 

“Industry continues to watch executive, legislative and judicial decisions surrounding business interruption interpretations,” he adds. “Preparing for the ‘hard’ market will also be key. New capital and start-ups are likely — we are hoping some will take advantage of Bermuda’s world-class regulation, global market access, innovation and speed-to-market.”

He adds that in the current global political and economic environment, CEOs and investors are eager for news that the island’s economic and political future remains stable and healthy, and that investment and executives are welcome.   

“To this end, local reinsurance executives, Marc Grandisson, president and CEO of Arch Capital Group; Stephen Weinstein, EVP and group general counsel for RenaissanceRe and deputy chair of the BDA, Sylvia Oliveira, chief executive officer at Wilton Re Bermuda and chair of Bermuda International Long Term Insurers & Reinsurers, and Patrick Tannock, managing director at AXA XL, who is one of the key speakers participating in the webinar, have answered the Government’s call to be members of the Bermuda Economic Advisory Committee,” he says.

While the pandemic has created considerable uncertainty, Burrows has also seen a positive impact in terms of accelerated innovation.

“The pandemic has been a catalyst for technology solutions and digital transformations,” he says. “Traditionally, innovation has been one of the biggest challenges for the re/insurance industry at large, so it will be interesting to see how this influences the conversations being had around insurtech initiatives. In Bermuda, innovation is actively embraced and so the market is able to take full advantage of the opportunities presented.”

With that in mind, he expects a key topic in the webinar to be the insurance regulatory sandbox and innovation hub created by the Bermuda Monetary Authority to facilitate and promote experimental and innovative technology applications in the insurance sector.

“Speaking of innovation, historically, following market dislocations, innovation and new capital have come together in Bermuda to help address newly understood risks, and the challenge of COVID-19 will be no different,” he says. “Matching risk to capital, with quality supporting services, is what Bermuda does best.”

Burrows believes that one of the key lessons to have come out of COVID-19, not only for Bermuda but also elsewhere, is the fact that only by working together is it possible to overcome such challenging times.

“The ongoing crisis, and the global level of unpreparedness for an event such as this, serves to highlight the need for investment in mitigation strategies and resilience building against some of the biggest risks we all face,” he says. “In Bermuda, as challenging as it has been, there is an undeniable sense of community and togetherness – we have presented a united front. The international business community has also shown its commitment with generous pledges and donations to support the national effort through a number of initiatives and charities.”

The webinar on July 22 will not only reflect on Bermuda’s response to COVID-19 – it will also look to the future, and Bermuda’s place in that.

“I hope people find the session informative and leave with a deeper understanding and appreciation of what Bermuda has to offer global businesses as a leading financial jurisdiction now and in the future,” says Burrows.

The Bermuda Development Agency is sponsoring an upcoming webinar that will explore the details of Bermuda’s evidence-based response to tackling the COVID-19 crisis. ‘Clarity In Changing Times: Bermuda’s Response to Tackling the COVID-19 Crisis and Remaining Open for Business’ takes place on Wednesday July 22 at 11 am ADT/10 am ET/3 pm BST. 

Sign up now to hear from:

The Hon. Curtis Dickinson, JP MP, Minister of Finance, Government of Bermuda

Craig Swan, deputy chief executive officer, Bermuda Monetary Authority

Kathleen Reardon, chief executive officer, Hamilton Re

Patrick Tannock, managing director, AXA XL; CEO insurance, XL Bermuda

Sarah Demerling, chair and executive committee member, AIMA

Greg Wojciechowski, president and CEO, Bermuda Stock Exchange

Click here to register for this complimentary webinar

Curtis Dickinson, Craig Swan, Kathleen Reardon, Patrick Tannock, Sarah Demerling, Greg Wojciechowski, Bermuda Business Development Agency

Bermuda Re