On October 9-11, more than 400 attendees from 15 different countries arrived at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club for Bermuda Convergence 2019 – a networking event covering the alternative reinsurance, insurance-linked securities (ILS), and collateralised reinsurance landscape, now in its seventh year.
Initial feedback from delegates and sponsors indicates Convergence 2019 was a resounding success and celebrated as one of the most important global events of the sector. Expectations were exceeded with the number of delegates along with a record number of guests from overseas including from: Australia, Barbados, Canada, Cayman Islands, France, Gambia, Germany, Guernsey, Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, UAE, UK and USA
Kathleen Faries, ILS Bermuda Chair, said: “Convergence is an event created by the industry for the industry and provides a unique opportunity for those in the sector to come together to discuss trends, innovation and developments. The ILS Bermuda committee is honoured to have hosted our seventh event, which exceeded our expectations on support and attendance. We are thankful for all those so that make the journey to Bermuda and we look forward to welcoming our colleagues back next year.”
Bermuda plays a key role in the global market as a leader in ILS. The idea of anchoring Bermuda as a centre of excellence for the creation and listing of ILS structures and hosting an 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.
Bermuda Finance Minister, Curtis Dickinson, along with BDA Chief Executive Officer, Roland ‘Andy’ Burrows opened the event with welcome remarks to delegates. The BDA, who has been a lead supporter annually from its inception, discussed key achievements for Bermuda in fintech, insurtech and emerging digital technologies including updated legislation and new business entrants.
It was an exciting few days that featured industry keynote speaker Kevin O’Donnell, well known for his invaluable expertise and knowledge. Kevin has served as Chief Executive Officer of RenaissanceRe since July 2013 and as President since November 2012. He is responsible for the oversight and management of the Company’s reinsurance and insurance businesses.
During this keynote on resilience, misperceptions and opportunities, Mr. O’Donnell addressed the role of ILS in fostering social resilience and closing the insurance protection gap. He also discussed industry performance in 2017-2018 and how the industry can avoid common market misperceptions to capture future opportunities in ILS.
The event also featured Life industry pioneer, Chip Gillis as the keynote speaker. Mr. Gillis is an active participant and very well known to the Life industry and widely sought after for his valuable insight and industry expertise.
Following the success from previous years, the popular “Bermuda Shorts” speaking format was repeated again this year. These specially tailored 12-minute presentations feature a format where speakers share their recent research, a business idea, or an informed market viewpoint. The rapid format provides attendees a brief overview of current topics and ideas from thought leaders within the industry.
This year attendees heard from several scientists from leading universities and research institutions such as NASA and NOAA who outlined the latest research into natural disasters including the role climate plays in hurricane frequency, intensity, impacts and the increasing trend for storms to stall near the coast, spending many hours in confined regions and the resulting trends in rainfall.
The latest research into the type of building damage caused by tornado storms and how direct economic losses occur due to tornados as compared to other natural hazards was shared and how government, academics and private industry can provide synergy to mitigate damage.
Following the most destructive and deadly fire season ever recorded in 2018, insight into the triangle of climate, fuels and people leading to an increasing trend of extreme fire events and issues surrounding community resilience and mitigating wild fire risk was very well received by attendees.
Kathleen Faries, Chair of ILS Bermuda Ltd., said in the opening remarks: “As the collateralised reinsurance hybrid market has grown and evolves, Bermuda has emerged as the natural leader for this segment because we are an actual market with intellectual capital on the ground and innovation in our collective DNA. We expect to see Bermuda continue to lead in the industry’s transformation. These are exciting times for ILS and Bermuda promises to be at the epicentre for the foreseeable future.”
Bermuda continues to maintain its position as the leading jurisdiction for the issuance of ILS. The Bermuda Stock Exchange accounted for over 80% of the global market capitalisation of ILS at the end of the third quarter of 2019 to the tune of $34.5 billion of the outstanding volume and 383 ILS bonds listed.
Greg Wojciechowski, President and CEO of the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) and sponsor of the event stated: “Bermuda has always been at the centre of innovation in the insurance and reinsurance world – we are the “World’s Risk Capital”. Bermuda has been the leading and fastest growing jurisdiction for the creation, support and listing of Insurance Linked Securities (ILS) since 2013. Through the evolution of ILS, they have also been identified as sustainable investments that provide resilience and helps communities recover in the face of natural disasters and the effects of climate change. Our ability to continue to provide a solid commercial platform supported by world class infrastructure and a well-respected regulatory framework will ensure that Bermuda remains at the forefront of this market and its transformation for many years to come.”
Bermuda is well placed to lead 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 drive the growth of the ILS industry.
“We’re proud to be the founding sponsor of Convergence, now in its seventh year, and we value our relationship with ILS Bermuda, “said Roland ‘Andy’ Burrows, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA). “Bermuda is a world-leading financial jurisdiction with a track-record in originating creative solutions for industry issues. The evolution of a best-in-class ILS market is testament to this, demonstrating our ability to set the global standard and meet the needs of increasingly sophisticated providers and investors.” Next month, delegates from ILS Bermuda will host ‘Beyond Convergence” following the BDA’s Bermuda Executive Forum London in the UK.