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Welcome to our Monthly Newsletter – August 2009

An Established and Successful Force in International Insurance.

Worldwide Risk Solutions is a U.K. based commercial organisation which has the sole objective of facilitating global business strategies and business development in the international insurance industry. For more information about us, please go to www.worldwiderisksolutions.com.

What Is Going On Out There?

A few days ago it was announced that Chartis has been created by AIG to become the special purpose vehicle for its commercial operations. And so after a very rough ride 40 million clients in more than 160 territories around the world again have a top quality insurer willing to exploit its capacity and expertise to look after their interests, unencumbered  by the issues which make so many want to tear their hair out. We wish Chartis, its staff, shareholders and clients all the best. Every month there is an acquisition, a market entry, a new joint venture, somewhere in the insurance world. We keep you abreast of these developments through our Talks Around the Bazaar.

The Spotlight article this month looks at the other side of the coin in Bermuda. This one of the world’s leading reinsurance markets, being home to some of the most creative underwriters in the international arena.  But what about the market for the 66,000 inhabitants of the island?  Who are the local insurers? Is there anything special about an insurance policy covering a domestic Bermuda risk? The article below answers these and other questions.

The Spotlight series helps you understand how different aspects of the insurance industry around the world operate, so that those of you who do business there can feel more “at home abroad.” Different does not need to mean difficult but knowledge of the needs and characteristics of specific geographic markets is an advantage to those who are active in the global economy. This helps avoid misunderstandings and unfulfilled expectations.  We continue to receive very positive feedback on the articles we publish and if you would like copies, please let us know. If you would like to discuss your international strategies with us, please contact us. Details are below.


Spotlight – INSURANCE IN BERMUDA

Location

Bermuda is a group of small Islands situated at 32 20'N, 64 45'W in the Atlantic Ocean some 650 miles (1,000 Km) east of the east coast of America.

It is only 21 square miles (54 Sq Km) in area with a population of nearly 66,000.

Climate

The climate is sub-tropical with temperatures ranging from a minimum of 50 F (10 C) in winter to about 85 F (30 C) in summer.

Jurisdiction/Economy

Bermuda is one of the few remaining British Colonies with the legal and political systems closely mirroring the British example. Because of its small size, Bermuda has no manufacturing industry and little in the way of agriculture. The two main sources of income are international company business and tourism. The speed limit is 21 MPH (35 KPH) and there are restrictions on the size and ownership of cars. All of these factors influence the types of insurance written in Bermuda.

Bermuda Insurance Market

The Bermuda insurance market can be broken down into two sectors: the Domestic market and the International market. The Domestic market comprises Bermudian insurance companies (Argus, BF&M, Colonial and Freisenbruch) and agencies (Butterfield and Kitson) which are licensed to write insurance and/or reinsurance risks in Bermuda. The Domestic companies write property, casualty, motor, accident, marine, life, heath and pensions. The International companies (ACE, XL, Max Re, Partner Re, etc – more than 1,200 insurers and reinsurers plus 900 captives) are licensed to write insurance and/or reinsurance on risks outside Bermuda. In addition there are a number of ancillary markets such as captive managers, brokers and consultants. Of the 30 brokers registered with the Bermuda Insurance and Reinsurance Association only a handful concentrate on domestic business.

History

Argus was founded in 1950 principally to write life business. BF&M's predecessor was incorporated in 1903 to write property & marine. Colonial was incorporated in 1958 principally to write motor business and Freisenbruch was incorporated in 2002 to write all classes. Today these companies write property, casualty, motor, accident, marine, life, heath and pensions business.

Regulatory environment

The companies writing insurance in Bermuda were formed under either private Bills or the Bermuda Companies Act. Along with brokers and other intermediaries, they are regulated by the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) under the Bermuda Insurance Act 1978 and amendments. Prior to the Insurance Act the market was completely self regulating.

 

BF&M

BF&M Limited is the holding company of the BF&M Insurance Group. The two largest  operating  companies  within  the  Group are BF&M Life Insurance Company Limited, a leading provider of life, health and pensions products, and  BF&M General Insurance Company Limited, the leading general insurer providing all forms of property, casualty, motor and marine products. The group includes several other companies and a 51.7% interest in the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited.

The company’s Hurricane Tracking website, www.sharkoil.bm has many hits, not only during the Hurricane Season (1st June to 30th November every year) but beforehand giving Bermudians the opportunity to prepare for whatever blows their way. There is a mine of information on this site, for example, did you know that the word Hurricane comes from 'Hurican', the Carib god of evil which has its roots in a name from Mayan folklore, Hurakan. Hurakan was the ancient Mayan god of wind and storm. He was a creator god who breathed on the water as wind to dry it out and form the land. When the gods became angry with the first human beings, Hurukan unleashed the deluge which destroyed them in a Flood. Hurakan means "one-legged".

BF&M today is the largest Bermudian insurer with market shares of approximately 40% of the Property, 40% of the Marine and 31% of the Motor markets. A copy of the Group 2008 Annual Report and the unaudited 3 months report to 31st March 2009 can be found within the website (www.bfm.bm).

Other local Companies’ websites are as follows:

Useful Bermuda Associations/links:

  • Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (ABIR) www.abir.bm
  • Bermuda Insurance Institute (BII) www.bii.bm
  • Bermuda Insurance Market www.bermuda-insurance.org
  • Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) www.bma.bm
  • Bermuda International Business Association www.biba.org
  • Additional Bermuda insurance associations:
  • Bermuda Independent Underwriters Association (BIUA)
  • Bermuda Insurance Management Association
  • Bermuda Insurance & Reinsurance Brokers Association (BIRBA)

In publishing this SPOTLIGHT article, we are grateful to BF&M General Insurance Company in Pembroke (www.bfm.bm), contact Mr Andrew White (awhite@bfm.bm) and to INI, the International Network of Insurance (www.ininetwork.com).

If you would like Worldwide Risk Solutions to conduct an economic, business and insurance survey of any international markets please contact us – Details below.

Worldwide Risk Solutions has access to a wide client base of internationally oriented organisations. Why not utilise this knowledge and experience? We can conduct a swift appraisal of your global activities or answer any questions you may have about international developments. Call +44 (0)1444 450 919 or send us an e-mail and we will respond immediately. And should you be passing through London, please let us know.

George Worsley, Director
Worldwide Risk Solutions
Telephone +44 (0)1444 450 919
Mobile: +44 (0)7968 191 511
E-mail info@worldwiderisksolutions.com

Talk Around the Bazaar

  • While the talk of the town is: are the PC rates going up or down, there are continuing developments in the Employee Benefits world. In Belgium, France and Taiwan there have changes affecting most men and women, as a glimpse at Employee Benefits News will tell you, http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/international-benefit-news-from-belgium-taiwan-france-2681026-1.html 
  • In the United States, the president's dream of a sweeping health care reform is drawing varying levels of programme design and structure as EBN shows us with http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/health-benefits-taxation-takes-center-stage-2681087-1.html
  • Meanwhile in China, it is not the state which is feeling the strain, it is the single child families. Many of these young Chinese are now burdened with the care of their elderly parents. What is the state getting ready to suggest: yippee, have another child - and create twice as many carers! According to The Times of India, read here, by allowing some families to have more than one child, there is a remedy for the aging population crisis
  • The latest Sigma report tells us that India has now joined the Top Ten Life Insurance markets. For more well-documented information from this excellent database, please go to this link.
  • Belgium has abolished Insurance Premium Tax on credit insurance. There is a wealth of the latest VAT information in Belgium under http://www.tmf-vat.com/home.php?pageid=49&menuid=375&langid=1 and the reader can access TMF's website for many other countries at www.tmf-vat.com
  • An example of good communications between those who hear of IPT-related developments can be found on ISN's country guide for the Philippines where IPT on Life Assurance has been abolished. For more, go to http://www.isn-inc.com/countryinfo/philippines.aspx
  • ISN also has an out of the box approach to NATO by Lord Levene and his views on Risk at http://www.isn-inc.com/news/news.aspx?nid=1573&cid=4
  • Lloyd's has also made the news with the opening of an office in Dublin, (see news link here) as another stepping stone in its European initiative
  • Sri Lanka has produced a first class example of a user-friendly guide to Motor Insurance with a publication from the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL), PDF download here.
  • New Zealand has scored a first for the Far East and Oceania by becoming a signatory to the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with Guernsey. This is good news for Guernsey which was included in the recent G20 'White List'. Obviously, this news comes from many sources and an interesting one is http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=83518
  • England's contribution to the news is that the Financial Service Authority (www.fsa.gov.uk) founded in 2000, should be abolished and regulation go back to the Bank of England (www.bankofengland.co.uk) established in 1694. The BBC has more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8157870.stm
  • Following on last month's notes on conferences, here is another one: 'The Future of General Insurance' is going to be discussed in London on the 3rd and 4th November. For those of you who cannot wait, go to http://www.marketforce.eu.com/insurance/
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    We are currently discussing projects in the following markets and are regularly being asked to attend the annual conferences and meetings of the major networks:

  • Afghanistan
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Kurdistan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • Singapore
  • United Kingdom
  • U.S.A.
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    We continue to work with a growing number of networks to improve and expand their international capabilities.  If you have not already spoken to us about expanding your international markets, now might be the right time for us to conduct a feasibility study. For more information, please see the contact details below.

    What Clients Say

    “Worldwide Risk Solutions has the building blocks we need”

    “At a time when we needed a quick introduction to a key person, they made the call straight away and we got moving”

    * * * * * * * * * *

    CONTACT US

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    Worldwide Risk Solutions LLP
    20 Blunts Wood Road
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    West Sussex
    RH16 1NB, England

    BY TELEPHONE
    Telephone: +44 (0)1444 450 919
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    Disclaimer
    Information appearing in WoRdS is checked for technical accuracy but is not intended to provide a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Worldwide Risk Solutions accepts no responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material included in this newsletter.