By DAN REYNOLDS, editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance®
Bermuda's new premier the Hon. Craig Cannonier sees a chance for reinvigorated cooperation with the island's insurance industry, he said last week during an interview with Risk & Insurance® at the Risk & Insurance Management Society's 2013 Annual Conference & Exposition in Los Angeles.
Cannonier made a direct correlation between a sharp uptick in insurance registrations in the domicile in the first quarter of 2013 and recent actions taken by the government in Bermuda to make it easier for insurers to do business there.
According to the Bermuda Monetary Authority, 13 new insurers registered in Bermuda in the first quarter of 2013. That figure represents a sharp uptick from the first quarter of 2012, which saw seven registrations.
For years, the government of Bermuda and its domiciled insurance companies had wrestled with work term limits, which had limited the amount of time an ex-patriot could work on the island to nine years.
The insurance industry complained that the limits suppressed economic development. Cannonier, who was elected in December, removed the term limits in January.
"It became more of a political football as opposed to a proper business decision. And when politics gets in the way of doing business, inevitably the people of the country are going to suffer," Cannonier said.
Based on the documentation he saw and the advice he had been given, he said removing the term limits was clearly the right thing to do.
His administration announced in April that it is making further changes to the work permit rules in Bermuda. At RIMS, Bermuda authorities announced that they are creating a Global Work Permit, which will allow global companies to more easily transfer workers to Bermuda.
The domicile is also creating a New Business Work Permit, which will allow new companies to receive up to five work permits for overseas senior executive recruits.
But there is much more in the planning stages between his administration and the industry, Cannonier said last week.
Bermuda-based insurance leaders like Brian Duperreault, former president and CEO of the Marsh & McLennan Cos, and David Cash, CEO of Endurance Specialty Ltd., are joining forces under the umbrella of the newly formed Bermuda Business Development Corporation to brainstorm ways that the island domicile can continue to be a leader in insurance innovation.
"We don't want to get in the way of creative business," Cannonier said.
"What we want to be doing as a government is helping to facilitate the creation of products and business but we don't want to be dictating to the markets on what they should and should not be doing," Cannonier said.
Cannonier said the island's business talent is going to be looking at ways to not just move the insurance industry forward, but to make the island's government more efficient and forward looking.
The administration is only four months old, but Cannonier said "dozens" of Bermuda-based insurance industry professionals were lining up to take part in committees being formed by the BBDC.
The island has a lot of business talent located in a very small area and should take advantage of it, he said.
"The intellectual capital is there," he said, "and Bermuda really thrives from having those kinds of individuals that push product to market, that create innovation."
May 1, 2013
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