Bermuda is referred to as the “world’s risk capital,” a nod to the innovation, entrepreneurialism and leadership of Bermuda insurers and the Bermuda government that has fostered the growth of this business.
More than 40 years ago, the country emerged as the leader in the development and regulation of captive insurers; today it is the home of underwriting operations for more than 30 major international insurance and reinsurance firms. This market has grown up in the last 20 years in response to market needs for greater world wide access to property and casualty insurance and reinsurance. These large carriers are regulated under a separate and distinct set of requirements with a regulatory framework designed to meet international regulatory standards commensurate with their size and market scope.
Today, Bermuda is the largest supplier of catastrophe reinsurance to US insurers. Over the last 12 years alone, Bermuda’s insurers and reinsurers have contributed an estimated $35 billion in catastrophe claims payments to their US clients, including $2.5 billion in response to the World Trade Center tragedy, $17 billion for Hurricane Katrina and $2 billion following tornado outbreaks from 2010 to 2012. This amount now also includes the estimated $3 billion in reported losses by Bermuda’s reinsurers for Hurricane Sandy. Bermuda is uniquely able to quickly match risk-taking capital with licensed insurers and reinsurers.
Click here to access the Bermuda Risk Directory – a database of Bermuda’s insurance, reinsurance, captive insurance, and insurance-linked security organizations.
Bermuda has led the reinsurance industry in developing a scientific approach to catastrophe underwriting, innovating to better serve customers and establishing highly regarded enterprise risk management programs. This attention to detail helps the major reinsurers retain their important credit ratings, better meet shareholder expectations and demonstrate resilience to global customers. During the worst days of the 2008 financial crisis, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, a respected independent regulator, tested its reinsurers to determine whether they could still meet their promises in the event of large catastrophic losses. The reinsurers passed these stringent tests.
ABIR members are committed partners in local conservation and environmental stewardship efforts. Collaborations between conservation and science organizations like the Bermuda Alliance for the Sargasso Sea and the Sargasso Sea Alliance are creating new pathways to promote the stewardship of the Sargasso Sea surrounding Bermuda. The multi-nationally supported Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea is one of the first marine protection efforts to incorporate areas of high seas, or waters beyond national boundaries, in its area of scope. The Declaration commits an oversight commission to monitor the marine environment and mitigate against harmful anthropogenic activity.
On the island, ABIR companies support preservation programs that care for Bermuda’s unique architectural and historic building heritage, including properties within the World Heritage Site of St. Georges. ABIR members are also leading conservation practitioners. Carbon neutral policies are increasingly pursued by Bermuda operations and one corporate office was the first in Bermuda to win LEED green building certification.
The Bermuda government has led the way with conservation practices that support humpback whales, sea turtles and two rare bird species (the Cahows and the Longtails) –bringing these species back from near extinction.
The Humpback Whale Research Foundation Project researches and collects visual & acoustic data on the pelagic social behavior of humpbacks as they migrate past Bermuda. There is little information on the humpbacks’ mid-ocean migratory behavior. As a mid-ocean platform, Bermuda provides a unique window into the lives of the humpbacks. For more information, visit Whales Bermuda.
The Cahow was believed to be extinct for nearly 300 years until several were found in 1951. For more information visit The Cahow Recovery Program and watch the Cahow Cam live. Further reading: Jane Goodall’s Hope for Animals and their World and the Catlin Seaview Survey.
In April 2016, Bermuda participated in the U.S. Department of State’s annual Fishackathon. For more information, please see the press release here. Additionally, Bermuda will host The Ocean Tech Initiative through September 2017. More information on the program can be found here.
In July 2016, Daisy, a loggerhead turtle, was returned to the ocean after doctors, vets, and marine experts at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo spent over six months ensuring the endangered turtle’s health and safety. More information can be found here.
International Tax and Transparency
The US Departments of Justice, State and the Treasury have all cited Bermuda’s government as a cooperative partner, and the United States has two tax law enforcement treaties with Bermuda. Many federal and state agencies in the United States have hailed Bermuda’s government as a cooperative partner in many areas, including financial regulation, protection of sensitive marine environments, anti-money-laundering measures and tax law enforcement.
Bermuda has 40 bi-lateral Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA’s) with all major trading partners, including a 25 year commitment to help enforce US tax law collection under US TIEA stemming from a 1988 agreement. Additionally, Bermuda upholds a 2009 Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, committed itself to 65 jurisdictional information exchange partners through a 2013 Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters, upholds a 2013 US FATCA IGA Model 2 Agreement, and is bound to UK and G5 FFATCA compliance.
Bermuda is also a recognized leader by the OECD Global Forum and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for 60 years of Know Your Customer rules, beneficial ownership registry, no bank secrecy and anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing compliance. In fact, the US State Department has rated Bermuda in its “lowest risk” category for national security, money laundering and financial system risk. Bermuda maintains commitments to US (OFAC) and UK anti-terrorism risk financing mandates and is largely compliant with OECD tax cooperation and transparency regime, same as the UK and the United States.
International Tests and Standards/Regulation
Bermuda’s insurance regulation meets or exceeds standards used by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors. Bermuda’s insurance regulator meets international regulatory standards and is regularly measured against the standards by the International Monetary Fund. Bermuda’s financial regulators have cooperation agreements in place with many American and international agencies, with more negotiated every day. In addition, European regulators have assessed Bermuda for equivalency with its own new solvency regulation regime with a final decision to be made by the European Commission on “equivalency” in 2015. In the US, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has pre-qualified the Bermuda Monetary Authority as a regulator, which meets it standards. This allows Bermuda’s reinsurers, which do business on a cross-border basis with US insurance clients to conduct business under a streamlined set of regulatory requirements.