Updated: Sep 24
Rachel Coombs (Consultant) reflects on Clarence George's recent visit to Bermuda.
Touching down in Bermuda, it seems hard to believe that such an idyllic island could be home to a thriving and innovative life reinsurance market going from strength to strength.
Here, in a tiny corner of paradise in the North Atlantic Ocean, the pink-sand beaches and pastel houses are home to some of the most exciting and ambitious reinsurers and actuaries. Water-sports and sun-tanning are paired with companies such as Resolution Re, completing an impressive $35 billion reinsurance deal with Allianz Life, and Athene, who have paved the way in the market in partnership with the private equity firm Apollo with their asset-intensive reinsurance deals.
The peaceful feel of the island seems at odds with the aggressive growth of the Bermudan life reinsurance market. Last year thirteen new reinsurers were licensed; and there are another thirteen planned for this year. With an increasing number of asset- intensive players in the market, in contrast to more traditional liability-led captive reinsurers, there is a thrilling sense of innovation in the air. As a result, the most ambitious actuaries are relocating to the island looking to boost their careers to the next level and make a real stamp on their work.
Those actuaries who decide to make the jump to Bermuda can expect to be well-rewarded for their work. Life actuaries on the island receive generous remuneration packages, often with little to no tax, and extremely fast progression. In contrast to the more consolidated life insurance UK market, Bermuda allows for exceptional career growth and pay. We have seen actuaries at the nearly/newly qualified level receive packages up to five times greater than their previous remuneration; and at the more senior end of the market, heightened bonuses and additional benefits ensure any move provides a significant uplift.
The popularity of the island as a working destination has also driven a more streamlined visa process for life actuaries. Recent campaigning by BILTIR (Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers) has advocated for faster visa processes for qualified actuaries, meaning that those actuaries at the associate or fellow level can now achieve visa approval in as little as five days as opposed to the usual 3 month waiting period.
This accelerated process is complimented by a rapidly expanding market in need of expertise and ambition. New areas of interest are coming into focus: investments functions on the island are growing, and the developing Asian market has now become a target for more aggressive players looking to make asset-intensive reinsurance deals. Economic Substance requirements from the regulator ensure that an on-island presence for reporting and pricing functions will continue to develop, and new vehicles and side-cars ensure that companies on the island are ever-evolving.
Our visit to the island confirmed what Clarence George has already witnessed over its last year and a half of bespoke life actuarial recruitment in Bermuda; that this market is an exceptional example of growth, innovation and opportunity. For those actuaries who are looking for broad, esoteric roles, unparalleled progression and a tropical island lifestyle – Bermuda is the ideal next step.