On October 18 – 19, a record number of over 350 attendees from 12 different countries arrived at the Hamilton Princess for Bermuda Convergence 2017 – a networking event covering the alternative reinsurance, ILS and collateralised reinsurance landscape, now in its fifth year.
Initial feedback from delegates and sponsors indicates Convergence 2017 was a resounding success. Expectations were exceeded with the number of investor delegates along with a record number of guests from overseas including from: Australia, Barbados, Canada, Cayman, France, Germany, Guernsey, Ireland, the Netherlands, 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. The Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA), as well as overseas and local corporate sponsors supported the event.
Building on the success from previous years, the popular “Bermuda Shorts” speaking format was repeated again this year. These specially tailored brief 12-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 hot topics and ideas from thought leaders within the industry.
It was an exciting few days that featured non-industry keynote speaker Dan Gardner, well known for his invaluable knowledge of business, finance, politics and international affairs. Mr. Gardner lectures around the world on forecasting risk and decision-making and co-authored bestseller, ‘Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction’. Mr. Gardner is also Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada.
The event also featured industry veteran, Mike McGavick, of XL Catlin as the industry keynote speaker. Mr. McGavick is an active participant and very well known to the (re)insurance industry and widely sought after for his valuable insight and industry expertise.
Bermuda Premier, the Hon. David Burt J.P., M.P., addressed attendees and said: “With the backing of industry and Government, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, has always sought effective supervision, combined with coordination among their global regulatory peers, with strong and useful regulation being critical to today’s financial markets.
This new Government believes the Bermuda market can go even further to serve the needs of the corporate world. However, it will take the continued efforts of working together with industry stakeholders, for all of us to reap the rewards and find mutual benefit.”
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 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 76.1% of the global market capitalisation of ILS at the end of the first half of 2017 along with 211 listings – proving to be a record-setting year for insurance linked structures.
Kathleen Faries, Deputy Chair of ILS Bermuda Ltd., and Head of Bermuda Branch, Tokio Millennium Re AG, said: “We are very pleased with the event participation and timely topics covered this year. It is clear the industry looks to Bermuda for market knowledge and insight. We are proud to host this very important annual event that brings market leaders and investors together where Bermuda’s intellectual capital and capabilities continue to enable the robust and efficient transfer of risk to capital. ”
“The success of this fifth ILS Convergence event is indicative of Bermuda’s continuing strength in the alternative risk-transfer market,” said Ross Webber, CEO, Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA). “Bermuda’s regulatory leadership, collaborative culture and lack of complacency are keeping Bermuda at the forefront of this industry. We remain humble and grateful to the business executives who give us their candour, advice and feedback. Bermuda remains the intelligent choice to nurture this partner capital, and we will continue to work with stakeholders both here and overseas to ensure that continues.”
Bermuda will certainly play a part in the coverage of the intense catastrophic events of 2017. Bermuda’s insurers and reinsurers may fund a quarter or more of approximately $100 billion in aggregate insured losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, according to preliminary estimates from the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (ABIR). ABIR also highlighted the growing importance of the ILS market and stating in a recent press release: “By diversifying the financial risks of these disasters to a willing global private market, we can best reduce financial burdens on exposed communities, taxpayers and policyholders.”
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 capital 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.