ABIR forum hails 25 years of progress
A new study by the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (ABIR) claims that Bermuda’s global (re)insurance market has a growing positive impact on the European Union, with companies providing critical coverage to European policyholders and businesses.
ABIR’s 13th Annual Economic Impact Survey, gathering 2017 data from all ABIR members, found companies provided insurance and reinsurance from underwriting centres in Bermuda, Europe, Asia, North and South America. Notably, Bermuda ABIR (re)insurers operated in 20 EU countries, with a total of 15,865 employees in the region. The top five jurisdictions with the most employees included the UK, with 9,762; France, with 1,148; Ireland, with 1,123; Germany, with 814; and Poland, with 453. ABIR members also had employees in Switzerland numbering 1,011.
“The European Union is a very important market for Bermuda (re)insurers, and our members continue to take on increasing amounts of risk in EU member states,” said John Huff, president & chief executive officer of ABIR. “Our member companies remain strongly committed to the European market, European ceding companies, and European policyholders.”
Bermuda’s robust regulation regime for commercial insurers was found ‘equivalent’ by the EU to Solvency II in March 2016, one of just two non-EU jurisdictions to hold that distinction. Solvency II is an EU directive with the overall objective to protect (re)insurers’ policyholders and provide for a stable financial system. Through equivalence, Bermuda’s commercial (re)insurers and insurance groups have access to the EU market, and Bermuda’s financial regulator, the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), is recognised as group supervisor for its insurance groups that operate in the EU.
BMA supervisors are internationally respected and regularly hold supervisory colleges with international peers, including those from EU member states and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). In 2017, the BMA attended seven colleges of EU groups, with EU member state supervisory participation on 17 of 20 supervisory colleges of Bermuda-based groups. Over 90 percent of Bermuda-based insurance groups regulated by the BMA have an EU presence.
BMA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with EIOPA in January 2017, and participates in annual EIOPA bi-laterals. To stay ahead of regulatory developments, it also participates on many International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) committees, including holding co vice-chair positions on the IAIS Policy Development Committee and Macroprudential Committee.
A study released by the BMA late last year reported Bermuda (re)insurers paid a total of $72.8 billion to EU policyholders and cedents over the past two decades. Of this amount, $36.8 billion was paid to UK policyholders, while $56.3 billion was paid to EU policyholders in the last 10 years alone.
“As ABIR marks 25 years of innovation and leadership, we are working to expand the Bermuda market’s successful, international leadership with continued optimism for growth in key jurisdictions, including the European Union,” said Kevin O’Donnell, president and chief executive officer of RenaissanceRe Holdings and current chair of ABIR.
“We are proud to provide this vital partnership of preparation and resilience for European communities,” he said, “and by doing so, helping individual consumers and regional economies to recover from catastrophes, and go on to rebuild and prosper. As risks continue to accelerate as a result of factors including economic expansion, technological innovation and climate change, level-playing field access to Bermuda’s capital and expertise will benefit European policyholders, insurers and taxpayers.”
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