Bermuda extends captive lead over Cayman

By added on 22/03/2012

Bermuda remains the world’s number one captive domicile after extending its lead over the Cayman Islands last year, reports the Royal Gazette.

A survey of captive domiciles, published earlier this month in the industry publication Business Insurance, showed growth was particularly strong in Utah.

Captive insurers predominantly provide insurance to their own parent corporations.

As revealed by the Bermuda Monetary Authority earlier this month, Bermuda had 862 active captives at the end of 2011, up from 845 a year earlier, representing an increase of 17 companies, or two per cent.

Second-placed Cayman was 155 captives adrift, with 707, having gained two captives in 2011.

Third-placed Vermont gained 18 captives to finish the year with 590, while fourth-placed Guernsey, which attracts much of the UK captive business, added two to move onto 343.

Barbados had a good year, gaining 28 captives to move up to 270. The Caribbean island has traditionally been the domicile of choice for Canadian captives, as a result of the country’s double-taxation treaty with Canada.

However, Bermuda insurance managers are now targeting Canada for new captive business, since a new tax information exchange agreement resulted in Canadian companies enjoying similar tax benefits in Bermuda to those they already enjoy in Barbados.

The remainder of the top ten, in order, are Anguilla (268 captives), Luxembourg (242), Utah (239), the British Virgin Islands (174) and Hawaii (172).

Utah saw a surge of new business last year, gaining 51 captives to grow its captive numbers by an impressive 27 per cent.

The BVI had the opposite experience, losing more than one in five of their captives last year.

There had been fears that the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s quest for third-country equivalence with the European Union’s new Solvency II regulations might negatively impact the Island’s captive business.

But the figures show that there has been no exodus and the Island continues to gain business.

Solvency II will increase the amount of capital that insurers are required to hold, but the Europeans indicated last year that they might be prepared to take a segmented view of the market, raising the possibility that captives, commensurate with their lower risk profiles, are treated less stringently than third-party commercial insurers.