Hamilton, Bermuda (October 22, 2103) - Bermuda Insurance Institute recently held a successful 3rd annual Bermuda Insurance Market Conference (BIMC) which attracted high profile local and overseas speakers. 

His Excellency the Governor, George Fergusson delivered opening remarks at the conference which took place at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th of October. The Governor implored Bermuda insurers to be noisy on the world stage about all of the good things both insurance and Bermuda has to offer. Central to this was the need for Bermuda insurers to be more innovative in their use of 21st century communications tools to get their message across, whether it be through Twitter or social networking. 

The BIMC takes place annually and is an insurance education conference. The BII and conference Chairman Chris Fisher were delighted with how this year’s conference was received and thanked the conference sponsors for their vital support. “We were sold out with the conference’s 150 spots being oversubscribed” said Mr. Fisher. “We were also delighted to have more than 30 speakers and discussion panel participants involved in the conference this year, and what was especially exciting was to have a good number of high profile overseas speakers, something that we knew attendees at previous conferences had requested.” 

Conference organisers were particularly pleased to have a customer panel this year involving two long time Bermuda insurance risk management customers, Gus Napoli from Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and Erica McNabb from NextEra Energy, Inc. This was reinforced by conference co-ordinator Rochelle Simons who said: “It’s incredibly valuable for us as a market to get direct and unvarnished feedback from our customers as to where the Bermuda insurance market is delivering and where it needs to up its game”. The client panel identified that the Bermuda insurance market scored high marks for the level of professionalism of the underwriting and broking community and the welcoming nature of the market for clients but needed to ensure that it did not sit on its laurels and its past success going forward. “Product innovation and a willingness to grow in new lines of business in addition to the long standing core lines of Excess Liability, Property and Directors & Officers’ insurance emerged as a key theme from both our client panel but also a number of the other discussion panels,” added Ms Simons. 

“Particularly popular this year were the cyber liability panel and the employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) /wage and hour panel,” said Mr. Fisher. He went on to mention that participants in these panels included recognised market leaders from the United States such as Robert A. Parisi, Jr who is Managing Director and National Practice Leader for Marsh’s Technology, Network Risk & Telecommunications in New York, Tom Hams, Managing Director and National EPLI Practice Leader for Aon in Chicago and Dr. Phil Norton, Vice Chairman Midwest Region for Arthur J Gallagher Risk Management Services. “These really are big hitters in their respective market disciplines,” said Mr. 

Fisher. “We were delighted to get panel participants of their calibre and expertise and it is exciting to hear them identify new market opportunities for Bermuda insurers in both the excess of loss cyber risk space and also EPL and wage & hour coverage”. Conference attendees heard that while Bermuda’s long standing core products will remain the corner stone of the Island’s international insurance market, these emerging product lines offer Bermuda the opportunity to build a significant market presence in excess layers where Bermuda insurers don’t face entrenched incumbency from the US domestic or London markets. Mr. Fisher added: “What is particularly exciting is to hear that many cyber clients come to Bermuda to purchase cyber coverage only, so these are new clients for the Bermuda market and offer the opportunity for real growth of the market”. 

Other topical subjects dealt with in the one and a half day conference were the impending expiry of the Terrorism Risk Insurance legislation in the US and its implications for the terrorism insurance market and also the opportunities for the Bermuda insurance market posed by healthcare reform in the US. Mr. Fisher was especially pleased that Dr. Brian Parker MD from the Cleveland Clinic was able to provide the conference with his perspective on US Healthcare Reform, “Obamacare” and the challenge that the move from a volume-based to a value-based healthcare system in the US poses to Bermuda’s healthcare customers. 

Mr. Fisher noted that the claims panel was particularly well received at last year’s conference and so the conference organizing committee of Mr. Fisher, Roger Gillett, Judy Gonsalves, Robert Stubbs and Paul Scope were keen to add additional claims focus this year. To this end, the first day of the conference was concluded with back-to-back claims sessions. The first was a panel discussion on effective claims management lead by Kim Wilkerson, SVP & General Counsel from XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd and the second session was a solo effort by Joshua Schwartz, General Counsel and Regional Compliance Officer for ACE Bermuda Insurance Ltd, outlining the value proposition for insureds of the London arbitration clause. BII CEO Dr. Dawnnelle Walker commented that “the claims sessions clearly highlighted the role that the BII can play in educating Bermuda’s future claims workforce and ensuring that the Bermuda insurance market remains technically equipped when it comes time to deliver on its promise to its customers at the claims paying stage”. “We intend to design and deliver a new claims training program to the Bermuda insurance market that draws upon the huge amounts of claims expertise we have on this Island as reflected by the senior claims personnel who participated in these two sessions,” Dr. Walker said. 

The 2013 BIMC concluded on day two with sessions focused on the practical steps the Bermuda insurance market must take to ensure its relevance on the global stage going forward. Recently appointed Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) CEO Stephen Lund moderated a discussion on the activities of the insurance focus sub-group of the Bermuda BDA represented by focus group co-chairmen Joe Rego from Aon Bermuda and Nigel Mortimer from Argo Re. Mr. Lund expressed his intent to make Bermuda more aggressive on the world stage when it comes to getting in front of the Island’s potential customers. He shared that the clear message for the Island from potential customers he met during his recent round of meetings in New York and London was “Where have you been?” and this reinforced for him that the Island needs to be more proactive in growing its business sector as “Bermuda Inc.” The conference was also interested to hear that while the Bermuda international 

insurance market is only about 1/10th of the size of the Bermuda reinsurance market from a premium volume perspective, the headcount of the insurance market on the Island far exceeded that of the reinsurance market and this reinforced why the future health of the insurance market in Bermuda is so important to the Island’s economy. 

Closing remarks were offered by market veteran Mr. Michael Butt, Chairman of Axis Capital Holdings, whose keynote address was titled “How we got here and where do we go next?”. In his remarks Mr. Butt touched on the key components of what makes a successful insurance market place: reputation, capital, skills and expertise, a credible regulatory authority and a market structure that works. Mr. Butt said Bermuda scored well in all of these but had no time to rest on its laurels. He took time to single out the work of the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) for its critical contribution to the success of the Bermuda insurance market. 

“I was especially pleased to hear Mr. Butt place great emphasis on the importance of education and training as a key determinant of the future success of the Bermuda insurance market,” said Mr. Fisher. “Under the day to day leadership of our CEO Dr. Walker the BII really is delivering on its mission to serve the education and training needs of our member companies from the Bermuda (re)insurance market and affiliated industries. Our new Wharton Executive Leadership program and our recently announced Professional MBA in conjunction with Georgia State University (GSU) are two examples of where the BII is doing its part to support the continued success of the world-class Bermuda (re)insurance market and we are keen for our industry partners to play a part in the BII’s future success given the vital role of education and training identified by Mr. Butt”. 

During the conference, Dr. Walker announced that the BII will shortly be moving into new premises. She said: “We hope that the broader (re)insurance industry in Bermuda will support our upcoming capital campaign for our new premises to ensure that our young Bermudian (re)insurance professionals have access to the training facilities they need and deserve to keep Bermuda’s (re)insurance industry at the top of the class.” 

About the BII 

The BII is a registered charity and educational institution, funded by its insurance and related industry members. The institute facilitates world-class insurance and business management studies. It also acts as a focal point for discussion of industry matters and other interaction among industry participants in Bermuda. Incorporated under the Bermuda Insurance Institute Act of 1984, the organization has been preparing Bermudians for the insurance industry since 1970.