ABIC’s Tannock: ‘Bermuda Can Emerge Stronger’

December 7, 2021 | 2 Comments

PatrickTannock Bermuda Feb 2020Bermuda can “emerge stronger from the pandemic by reinforcing its value to the world as an exceptional place to put capital to work,” says Patrick Tannock, Chairman of the Association of Bermuda International Companies [ABIC], CEO AXA XL Insurance Operations.

Speaking at ABIC’s annual general meeting, Mr. Tannock said that while Bermuda had a strong track record of responding successfully to change, it was imperative that the island started on the groundwork now to enable it to adapt to a new normal once the pandemic is behind us.

Mr. Tannock told attendees of the virtual meeting: “We don’t want to find ourselves in a position of what we could have or should have done but didn’t – until it was too late! The work to reposition ourselves to ensure our relevancy must ramp up now.

“As we look ahead to the new realities of the post-pandemic world, we must clarify our value proposition as a jurisdiction by refreshing our brand to shatter the misconception that Bermuda is a place where capital comes to hide.

“The reality is that this is a place where we put capital to work. The hard evidence is the hundreds of billions of dollars the Bermuda re/insurance market has paid out to cedants around the world in their times of greatest need: $209.6 billion to U.S. cedants alone between 2016 and 2020 for large catastrophes, property and casualty losses, and life insurance claims.”

“Bermuda’s challenge now is to build on that track record and make a unified effort to remain relevant to a changed world in which customer demands and consumer behaviours “have definitively entered a digitalised, experience-driven era”, Mr. Tannock said.

He added: “In the new world order it will be even more critical for all relevant stakeholders to work together and relentlessly focus on ensuring that Bermuda is internationally cost-competitive in order to sustain our position as an international business domicile of choice.

“Make no mistake about it, the economic recovery will be challenging. Bermuda needs the business and tourist visitors to return. The whole of our hospitality sector – hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, etc. – has been disrupted and, collectively, we will need to take an innovative approach to recover.

“On the premise that political, social, and economic stability are critical to our sustainability as an international business jurisdiction, our recovery has to be interconnected.

“In Bermuda we have access to some of the top intellectual capital on the planet, talent that has consistently shown a willingness and desire to work collaboratively with Government to provide solutions. We all have a role to play to mitigate the impact on our economy and put us on a path to economic renewal.

“Economic recovery will be challenging globally, but by working together, all of us in Bermuda will emerge from this stronger than ever.”

“Also critical is that Bermuda maintains and builds on its existing competitive edge. In a time of rapid change, Bermuda’s innovative culture and speed to market, for example, make the island uniquely well-equipped as a place where solutions to the world’s problems can be developed and applied in a timely fashion,” Mr. Tannock added.

“When you look at how fast things are evolving and how bureaucracy gets in the way in other jurisdictions, then by the time capital is applied to the situation, it can already be obsolete,” he said. “That doesn’t happen in Bermuda – we’re in an era of ‘just-in-time’ capital and we fit well with that.”

“Other competitive assets that should be nurtured and not taken for granted include the willingness of Government, industry and the regulator to work together to strengthen the business environment as well as the island’s economic, social and political stability.

The launch of Government’s climate plan for Bermuda earlier in the year was promising, said Mr. Tannock.

“ABIC is encouraged by Government’s commitment to mitigate the impact of climate change. The island has a real opportunity to become a thought leader in climate change and to reposition itself as the climate risk finance capital of the world.

“Bermuda’s been doing things that lead the world on climate change for a couple of centuries. We catch all our water from the rain, we passed legislation hundreds of years ago to conserve the environment.

“Today, we have intellectual heavyweights in insurance and reinsurance who are already global leaders in catastrophe risk management. If we become the climate risk financing capital, it would lead to a new revenue stream and local jobs. The operations of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and tourism initiatives could also benefit. If we do it right and adopt a holistic approach, this could be something the whole island supports.”

“The island’s strong intellectual capital base can be further strengthened by ensuring access to Bermudians from all backgrounds to career opportunities in IB. Education will be needed and this will continue to be supported by initiatives such as the ABIC Education Awards, the island’s longest-running scholarship programme.”

On diversity, equity and inclusion [DEI], Mr. Tannock said ABIC was now working with HR management professionals at Expertise to develop a survey that will track DEI progress in the IB sector.

“Although we still have much room for improvement, I believe Bermuda has an opportunity to show the rest of the world that diversity and inclusion can be a differentiator for a top-tier company,” Mr. Tannock said. “The more diverse workforce we have, in terms of different perspectives, backgrounds and ideas, the more successful a company will be and that’s been proven many times.”

A spokesperson said, “The ABIC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee’s work to encourage equitable treatment, respect and fairness in member companies continued in 2021. This included three CEO roundtables and four virtual presentations aimed at HR and middle managers, on “Employment in IB by Race and Gender”, “Black Women in IB”, “Out in Bermuda”, and “Mental Health in the Workplace”.

“ABIC actively supported the Association for Corporate Racial Equality [ACRE], a body launched this year, comprising Black men and women from international business committed to advancing racial equity in the IB sector.

“ABIC’s educational efforts include supporting 17 undergraduates and two graduates with scholarships through the ABIC Education Awards, as well as working with curriculum officers and teachers from the Ministry of Education to further develop the Middle School International Business Curriculum.

“The Chairman’s Report noted that during 2021, ABIC had also worked closely with Government on numerous matters of importance to member companies, including the economic recovery, the cost of doing business and the immigration process.

“In addition, ABIC has engaged with the Ministry of Finance, the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers and Bermuda Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers on a committee addressing the OECD Global Anti-Base Erosion Proposal Pillar 2, which proposes a global minimum tax rate. The committee has worked to develop and support Bermuda’s position and technical arguments.

“Among the focus areas for 2022 will be working with Government to minimise bureaucracy in the interest of improving Bermuda’s competitive edge on speed to market; ensuring that high-quality intellectual capital can be attracted, retained and developed; and ramping up work on DEI to move on from awareness-raising to the development and execution of strategy to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in Bermuda’s international business workforce.”

Mr. Tannock said: “To remain competitive, Bermuda must provide an environment in which international business gets what it needs to thrive. Likewise, we in international business must be respectful of Bermuda’s culture as well as the aspirations and values of the Bermuda’s people. We are all in this together.”

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  1. JAYBIRD says:

    Very well said and totally agree with Mr Tannock’s comments. Having said that I would urge him to focus his considerable influence on making the current government live up to their part of the bargain – and not just in terms of business efficiency but also in terms of ensuring that Bermuda is a safe and desirable location for guest workers and visitors and that we reverse the obvious decline in the appearance and public safety of this once beautiful place.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    The biggest obstacle is the Government, who wants to stay in election mode and pander to their electorate, blame everyone apart from themselves and not take the tough decisions such as reducing the cost of Government. Unlikely anything will change until it is forced upon them.

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