Column: Solvency II Has Positive Repercussions

December 20, 2015

Ross Webber thumb[Column written by Ross Webber]

Bermuda’s value as a world-class international financial centre received an immense boost a fortnight ago. In a much-anticipated announcement, the European Commission awarded our jurisdiction full equivalence under Europe’s Solvency II insurance regulatory regime, which comes into force January 1, 2016.

This impressive stamp of approval, now under final review by the European Parliament, marks the successful result of a six-year campaign for Bermuda.

We applaud our colleagues at the Bermuda Monetary Authority [BMA], Bermuda government, and industry associations such as the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers [ABIR], the Bermuda Insurance Management Association [BIMA] and the Bermuda International Long-Term Insurers & Reinsurers [BILTIR].

All have worked diligently—in Bermuda and Brussels—to ensure our jurisdiction was among the first of non-EU markets to receive such an endorsement. Only Bermuda and Switzerland currently hold that distinction.

What this signifies for Bermuda’s global commercial [re]insurance companies is that, in the eyes of European Union regulators, they will be treated on an equal footing with their EU counterparts, allowing them to keep their key operations here.

For Europe’s industrial and financial businesses, the decision provides protection, stability, diversification and resilience by enabling critical access to our market’s capacity—and its dependable claims-paying record, should they suffer catastrophic losses. EU consumers and governments will be better off thanks to Bermuda’s equivalent regime. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, a win-win scenario.

The Solvency II news has positive repercussions far beyond our risk-management sector as well. What it says about the careful, pragmatic way the BMA supervises our jurisdiction—indeed, its leadership role in global supervision—is clear.

It speaks reassuringly to the mature, sophisticated nature of our market and confirms how the larger world, particularly Europe, views Bermuda as an influential player in the financial sphere generally. That reflects strongly on all our domicile’s industries, from asset management and banking to trust services.

We’ve seen this throughout Bermuda’s history, and once again, the Island is punching economically far above its geographic weight. The positive benefits will enhance every sector of our global market and underscore our message that we are a unique jurisdiction.

Bermuda’s blue-chip reputation—well-regulated, globally compliant, transparent, sensible, legitimate—is being bill-boarded to the world. That’s something we can all stand behind and celebrate.

Ross Webber is CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency [], an independent, public-private partnership working to attract investment and maintain business on the Island.

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