Setting aside the effects on the UK economy, which are already being felt with political turmoil, the fall of the pound, billions being slashed from UK stocks worldwide and the potential break-up of the United Kingdom itself, one little examined effect is how its overseas dependent territories, of which Bermuda is one of the largest, would fare in the post-Brexit world, particularly in their relationship with the EU that the UK is leaving behind.
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In an update to my post from January, ‘Another Step in the Right Direction: Bermuda Solvency II Equivalence‘, Bermuda has now been awarded full equivalence under the tough EU Solvency II regulations by the European Commission. After years of work, the Island is now one of only two non-EU jurisdictions to be recognised as in line with new insurance rules. For further information, please see this news article in the Royal Gazette.
Bermuda has moved closer to equivalence under Solvency II (Directive 2009/138/EC) and the retention of EU market access for Bermuda commercial (re)insurers. The encouraging news follows the recent consultation paper published by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) which is focused on the equivalence assessment of the Bermuda supervisory system (EIOPA-CP-14/042). EIOPA has endorsed certain key aspects of Bermuda’s regulatory and supervisory regime subject to certain caveats. A notable area of required improvement includes those rules applicable to the supervision of commercial life (re)insurers. It is, however, acknowledged that the BMA has implemented, or plans to implement, rule changes to address these concerns. EIOPA’s advice is limited to the commercial class of (re)insurer being 3A, 3B, 4, C, D and E and (re)insurance groups. This is significant as it preserves the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s (BMA) risk based and proportionate approach to the regulation of the commercial market as distinct from its captive market.
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The first Mid-Year Meeting to be held in Bermuda of Insuralex, a worldwide network of independent insurance and reinsurance lawyers, drew a large crowd of over 120 attendees to its recent seminar, of which 37 people were from overseas (representing over 12 countries!). MJM Limited is the Bermuda member of Insuralex and hosted the group this month.
The guest speakers at the seminar at XL conference centre, addressing the audience on Aggregation in the Reinsurance Context and the Insurability of Fines and Penalties, were from London’s Devereux Chambers, with whom MJM Limited has strong links. Speakers included: Colin Wynter, QC, Chambers & Partners Insurance Silk of the year 2012; Richard Harrison, Leading Insurance Junior; and Andrew Burns, Leading Insurance Junior and co-author of the Law of Reinsurance with Colin Edelman QC, published by Oxford Press.
View Insuralex Mid-Year Meeting Seminar podcast
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The Privy Council gave judgment this year on an appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeal of Bermuda in Mutual Holdings (Bermuda) Limited and others  UKPC 13 (97 KB PDF). The major issue concerned an allegation of fraud made against three corporate and four personal defendants (who included ex employees of the Mutual Group) in respect of the rent a captive facility operated by the Mutual Reinsurance Management Group. In broad terms, the defendants were alleged of overstating the extent of the plaintiffs’ exposure under a complex programme of insurance and reinsurance, thereby inducing them to order reinsurance which they did not need and to renew the programme for a further year on amended and disadvantageous terms. The trial judge in the Supreme Court of Bermuda rejected this allegation on the facts but the Court of Appeal upheld it and made findings of fraud against two of the corporate and one of the personal defendants. Read More »