Insurance

Agathe Holowatinc
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 MJM hosts Insuralex Global Insurance Lawyers Group in Bermuda

Fozeia Rana-Fahy
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 [2013] 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.

Before an insurance company pays out damages following an accident, one’s claim must be particularised fully. Such a claim will typically include all expenses incurred as a result of the accident, which may include damage to property and expenses for transportation. Hardip Singh v Rashed Yaqubi is a 2012 case wherein Mr. Singh sued Mr. Yaqubi for damages arising out of an accident in central London which involved Mr. Singh’s Rolls Royce. Mr. Singh, through his counsel, argued that the hire of the Rolls Royce was reasonable considering the type of work that he was in and the image that he had to maintain, elements of which included the perception of success.

Timothy Frith
Bermuda is now the epicentre of the catastrophe bond/insurance linked security world. With $7 billion of these securities now listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange, the island can claim almost half the value of the global market. Catastrophe bonds (also known as cat bonds) are risk linked securities that transfer a specified set of risks from an Insurance company which acts as a sponsor to investors through the issue of cat bonds and the trading in derivatives based on the bond. They were created and first used in the mid 1990’s in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and the Northridge earthquake and emerged from a need by insurance companies to alleviate some of the risk they would face if a major catastrophe occurred, which would incur damages that they could not cover by premiums and returns from investment using the premiums that they received. Typically an insurance company issues bonds through an investment bank which are then sold to investors. These bonds are inherently risky and are multi-year deals. If no catastrophe occurs, the insurance company pays a coupon to the investors who make a healthy return generally based on LIBOR plus between 3% and 20%. However if the catastrophe manifests itself the principal paid by the investors to purchase cat bond securities is forgiven and used by the sponsor to pay its claims to policy holders.