On November 9 – 10, close to 340 attendees from 13 different countries arrived at the Hamilton Princess for Bermuda Convergence 2016 – a networking event covering the alternative reinsurance, ILS and collateralised reinsurance landscape.
Initial feedback from delegates and sponsors indicates Convergence 2016 was a tremendous success. Expectations were exceeded with the number of delegates with some 55% of guests from overseas including from: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Guernsey, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the USA and the United Kingdom.
The idea of anchoring Bermuda as a centre of excellence for the creation and listing of ILS structures and hosting an exclusive event in Bermuda was conceived by ILS Bermuda Ltd., which is comprised of industry executives working together on a volunteer basis to promote Bermuda’s expertise in the industry. Now in its fourth year, the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA), as well as overseas and local corporate sponsors supported the event.
Building on the success from last year, the popular “Bermuda Shorts” speaking format was repeated again this year. These specially tailored brief 10 to 15 minute presentations feature a format where speakers share their recent research, a business idea, or an informed viewpoint. The rapid format provides attendees a brief overview on topics and ideas from thought leaders within the industry.
It was an exciting few days that featured keynote speaker Pablos Holman – Futurist, Inventor and Hacker. The event was also fortunate to have V.J. Dowling as the industry keynote speaker – the publisher of IBNR Weekly and principal in Dowling Partners. Mr. Dowling is very well known to the (re)insurance industry and widely sought after for his valuable insight and industry expertise.
Bermuda Premier, the Hon. Michael Dunkley J.P., M.P., addressed attendees and said: “Observers have been watching the increasing importance of the insurance-linked securities marketplace, and Bermuda has staked its claim as the leading jurisdictions for the ILS sector. Insurance and reinsurance industry observers point to ILS market leaders domiciled in Bermuda, noting that the Island is one of the key regions in the evolving and influential alternative capital space.”
ILS Bermuda will continue to work with industry and government to underscore the sophistication and substance of Bermuda’s infrastructure. ILS Bermuda Chairman and President and CEO of the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX), Greg Wojciechowski said, “During these very uncertain times, Bermuda’s position as the ‘World’s Risk Capital’ and our ability to continue to provide a solid commercial platform supported by world class infrastructure and a well-respected regulatory framework, contributes directly to Bermuda’s position as a centre of excellence for the creation, support and listing of Insurance Linked Securities vehicles.”
Bermuda continues to maintain its position as the leading jurisdiction for the issuance of ILS. The BSX accounted for 75.4% of the global market capitalisation of ILS at the end of October 2016.
The results of the ‘ILS Bermuda Survey’ commissioned earlier this year by the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) attest to the growth of the sector in Bermuda.
Key industry highlights from the study include the following:
- Overall, the study estimated a total economic impact of $734 million from Bermuda-based insurance-linked funds.
- The ILS industry generated at least 400 jobs in Bermuda by the end of 2015, representing a 30% increase over the previous year.
- Responsible for more than $100 million in payroll, representing nine percent of all people working in the island’s globally operating companies last year.
- Jobs included 209 people employed by 15 funds
- 188 jobs at 25 companies supporting the ILS industry directly, including all Big Four accounting firms and all top five insurance brokers.
- Bermuda is the most popular jurisdiction to establish insurance-linked funds
“We’re proud to be lead sponsor of this event for the fourth consecutive year now, and to support our ILS Bermuda colleagues in shaping this very successful networking forum,” said Ross Webber, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA). “Bermuda stands apart from all other jurisdictions, and the ILS/convergence sector is a good example of this. Its size and strength are unparalleled. That’s due to the unique advantages of this domicile—our reputation, robust regulation, constant innovation and world-class talent. Bermuda is a leader on all those fronts and it’s why industry values our marketplace.”
There is no doubt the ILS sector has seen an incredible transformation over the last 5 years and Bermuda should continue to see the pace of change increase in the coming years, both due to the need to focus on transactional efficiency and with technological advances and applications rapidly coming to the industry.
Bermuda is well placed to lead this transformation both due to its history of facilitating innovation and the wealth of industry knowledge and expertise on the island. Thanks to established relationships, infrastructure and technical expertise, Bermuda will continue to adapt and evolve with the industry.