Despite the challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Bermudian insurers and reinsurers continue to meet the needs of clients and have shown “operational resilience” during the crisis, reports the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (ABIR).
With social distancing measures in place across much of the world, the ABI recently held its first virtual board meeting with over 50 executives from member firms, including newcomers Hannover Re and Awbury Insurance.
The ABIR states that in light of the global coronavirus pandemic, its member companies have implemented precautionary policies to reduce or remove non-essential travel and have also adopted new health and safety policies for staff returning from travel.
Insurers and reinsurers in Bermuda remain open for business and despite less physical interaction with all parts of the value chain, the ABIR notes that the April 1st reinsurance renewals completed successfully, with members now looking ahead to the June renewals season.
Albert Benchimol, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AXIS Capital Holdings and Chair of the ABIR, commented: “ABIR companies have quickly transitioned to remote working protocols in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The industry’s rapid response demonstrates that technology is enabling business continuity in Bermuda – as it does around the world.
“The way we are conducting business is becoming a ‘table stakes’ approach. Moving to a remote working protocol, based on global and local best practices and guidance, has been seamless across ABIR member companies.
“Of all industries, the data-rich re/insurance sector understands the statistical effectiveness of ‘flattening the curve. Our industry has been quick to initiate remote working protocols that support the leading medical advice in controlling the spread of the virus. Remote work reinforces the wisdom of social distancing, which is critical for Bermuda right now.”
John Huff, President and CEO of the ABIR, highlighted that the region’s market is strongly capitalised and has a close working relationship with regulators and policy makers globally on the potential economic hit of any significant event.
“The re/insurance industry excels in time of disruption and catastrophes—managing risk during natural and man-made disasters is our strength. The industry has a proven track record of responding successfully during critical moments in history and we will continue to do so as the world faces and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Huff.
New ABIR member Hannover Re, one of the largest reinsurers in the world, is led in Bermuda by CEO Dr. Konrad Rentrup. Awbury Insurance, a Bermuda-based specialist financial lines and economic catastrophe insurer, is led by President David Ensor.
Commenting on the addition of the two new members, Huff said: “ABIR welcomes Hannover Re, a global reinsurance leader, and Bermuda-domiciled Awbury Insurance to Bermuda’s leading association of international insurers and reinsurers.
“ABIR members operate in over 150 countries and are proud of the Bermuda market contribution of over 35 percent of the global reinsurance market based on property/casualty net premiums earned.”
Back in March, the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) granted a one-month filing extension for insurers and reinsurers, and also waived the need for physical board meetings to take place in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.