Minister Bob Richards: “It’s A Huge Win For Us”

November 29, 2015

“It’s a huge win for us and a stamp of approval for our industry,” Finance Minister Bob Richards said following the news that the European Commission has found Bermuda fully equivalent under the European Union’s Solvency II regulatory and supervisory system.

Asked to explain why it’s so important, the Minister told Bernews: “Solvency II equivalence for Bermuda enables Bermuda insurance companies to be on an equal footing with European insurance companies inside the European Union, so we’ll get treated exactly the same as a European-based insurance company.

“That means that we will not be at a competitive disadvantage. We would be at a significant competitive disadvantage with other European companies in Europe if we didn’t get this.

“It also means that because we have gotten it, the insurance industry in Bermuda will be more cemented in Bermuda. They won’t have to move parts of their businesses into Europe just to be able to be competitive in Europe.

“It is a really big deal for us, bearing in mind that equivalence for non-EU countries…the only other country that’s gotten it has been Switzerland.

“It’s a huge win for us and a stamp of approval for our industry that you just couldn’t buy, no matter how much money, you couldn’t buy this,” continued Minister Richards.

“We had to go through huge amount of hoops, particularly the Bermuda Monetary Authority who were the people had to do most of the work, but it was also in cooperation with ourselves in the Ministry of Finance, members of the industry itself, they’re the ones who initially just drove all of this because they wanted to be here, they wanted Bermuda to be competitive.

“And so we felt it was crucial to the future of our main business, which is insurance, and so it’s very reassuring that we’ve gotten this as it augurs well for the future for us in insurance.

“It’s crucial for the companies that are already here, because if the companies that were already here, if we didn’t get it, then some of those companies may not have continued to be here, because the competitive position will have been eroded.

“It really makes the future more certain in insurance. As you know, there are thousands of Bermudians whose livelihoods, either directly or indirectly, depend on the insurance industry here. It really is good for not only the companies, but it’s good for the people as well.

Asked if it increases the attraction of Bermuda as a business centre, the Minister said: “I think Bermuda’s always been attractive as an insurance jurisdiction. I think it will increase the attractiveness, it will increase the legitimacy of our insurance and regulatory model.

“That’s probably a really good point that it really underscores and gives a stamp of approval of the Bermuda regulatory model, which is different from the regulatory model in Europe, it’s different from that in the UK, different from that in the US, but we’ve had the European Union say that even though it’s different, it’s still equivalent in outcomes and that’s a huge stamp of approval for us,’  concluded Minister Richards.

A number of local and international business leaders also praised the decision, including Ross Webber from the Bermuda Business Development Agency, Jo Willaert from the Federation of European Risk Management Associations in Brussels, David Matcham from the International Underwriting Association in London, Hugh Savill from the Association of British Insurers in London, Bradley Kading from the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, Robert Paton from the Bermuda Insurance Management Association and Wendy Outerbridge from the Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers Association.

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Comments (16)

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  1. swing voter says:

    ok done….lets see the results soon. the more money people on island the better for all of us.

    • Luis Suarez says:

      Ok, slight lack of understanding there Swing Voter. This isn’t about more jobs, this is about meeting the same equivalency as major financial venues like UK, Japan and Switzerland. It won’t make restaurants and schools fuller, but it will win vs Guernsey, Luxembourg, Gibraltar, Malta and Barbados.

      Its a solid belt and braces approach which will pay long term dividends. And if swing votes are the issue, would the PLP assisted to the same extent? Well no.

      • Ride says:

        This could mean more jobs as it potentially means more boots on the ground for insurance companies (or at least more visits to Bermuda). More people in or visiting Bermuda to comply with the regulations would produce a knock on effect for jobs and the economy.

        Ride

  2. james says:

    This is a monumental win, reflecting years of effort by the BMA and the industry. If we didnt get this, we’d have lost businesses to other jurisdictions – plain and simple.

    “swing voter”, you’re seeing the results every day you walk down the street and pass by brokers, clients, underwriters, actuaries, consultants, accountants, and lawyers, whose presence is solely a result of the insurance industry existing on this island. We have to fight every day to keep it here – and fight we are.

    It isn’t a matter of checking a box and “lets see results”. We have to fight to defend what we have.

  3. Coffee says:

    Fourteen years of excellent work by the former government , to bad someone else is now posturing for unearned credits !

    • Awake says:

      LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Family Man says:

      Would those fourteen years include the five consecutive years of qualified audit opinions and outrageous cost overruns on every single project? The duplicate payments? The untendered, unsigned contracts?

      Oh, yes they would.

      Your definition of “excellent work” needs a bit of fine tuning. Or as they used to say “re-calibrating”.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      14 years ?

      So what had they been doing since 1969 when they were formed and up to 1998 ?

      If anyone’s posturing for unearned credits it’s you .

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      14 years… you do realize that Bermuda’s international business industry started as far back as the 20/30′s.

      Frankly if your PLP had been the first constitutional government of Bermuda, we’d be in the same position as Jamaica right about now… scratch that, worse, they at least had bauxite mining for a while.

      • @Build a Better Bermuda, why do you have to bring Jamaica in this. Other then their high murder, crime rates and poor economic status caused by Government greed (hint, hint), Bermuda could NEVER walk in the shadow of this island that produced the best of music, Black Liberation Leaders, athletes and of course High Grade.

        • Betty Boop says:

          Oh pleaseeeee, Bermuda could never walk in the shadow of Jamaica, no that;s because we’re wayyyyyy ahead of JA. I agree they do have some of the best musicians, not all, they do have best atheletes, not all, they also have the best, you know what, the only reason for that is because that’s the only place we get it from, but not all. Bermuda is way ahead of JA in so many ways, just look at our infrastructure and you’ll see why.

        • jt says:

          You should move. Definitely recommend it. Everything you dream of.

    • Zevon says:

      14 years of driving a car bought by someone else, and finally driving it into a ditch.

    • aceboy says:

      Dunkley or Bean?

      Richards or Burt?

      The choice is pretty darn obvious.

      14 years of excellent work huh? That isn’t what the Auditor General thinks.

  4. Lois Frederick says:

    This is a big deal and sets Bermuda up well for the future. Some already in the know, are here already preparing new lines of business, others will follow. Based on comments from those directly in the business, Bermuda stands to gain more economic impact, over the long run from reaching Solvency II equivalence, than the AC35. Huge.

  5. some beach says:

    Good then can we have those lower premiums too…in most instances ours are three to four times as high…we are only fifty five thousand and these companies…troll overseas and serve billions domiciled here…I think our little bit of business could be price for domicile…and wouldn’t be to much of request nor requirement…