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Update with Bermuda Captive Conference Chair Michael Parrish

BDA Conference Chair Michael Parrish 600x300
March 19, 2018 recently spoke with Bermuda Captive Conference Chair Michael Parrish to discuss the 14th annual conference, happening June 11–13 at the Fairmont Southampton Resort, Southampton, Bermuda. Mr. Parrish invites readers to register online now so as not to miss out on this top event. Find out more in the following interview with him.

Please tell readers about the history of the Bermuda Captive Conference and how the event has evolved since it first began. 

The conference was launched back in 2004 as an initiative to promote, support, and grow Bermuda's captive insurance sector to benefit the whole Bermuda market. It's a collaborative event that brings together our jurisdiction's captive managers, service providers, and corporate clients to network, share resources, and discuss trends and hot topics in the industry. The underlying aim is to celebrate and strengthen Bermuda's captive industry, which is the world leader. Over the years, the conference has evolved and grown, and today attracts close to 800 attendees, making it Bermuda's largest industry event. We also use it as a platform to honor companies and individuals who have had a significant impact on the industry and our market.

What are some of the current Bermuda captive industry facts, figures, and statistics that are the most impressive?

Since Ohio engineer Fred Reiss pioneered the captive idea on the island back in the 1960s, Bermuda's captive market has grown to become the global leader. Some 739 active captive licenses were registered at year-end 2017, including 17 new entities. Our captives support primarily Fortune 500 corporations in the United States and generate nearly $55 billion in annual gross written premiums. Not only do Bermuda captives generate value for onshore economies by helping corporations curtail costs and manage risks, but they also have a positive impact on Bermuda's own economy; a study conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers last year found the captive insurance industry contributed an estimated $174 million annually to the island's economy and directly employed at least 557 people.

What makes the Bermuda Captive Conference stand out from other industry conferences?

The conference brings together multiple components of Bermuda's captive industry, and it highlights the depth of our market's service professionals—who all attend the event. For visiting risk managers and other practitioners, that makes it a unique opportunity to connect with experts in the field and leverage Bermuda's position as the leading domicile in this industry. The conference also represents a wide variety of industries, and the topical agenda is international in scope, catering to a broad geographic spectrum rather than being solely US-centric. Delegates from across the world, including Asia, Latin America, and Europe, attend and are representative of the global span making up the captive market in Bermuda.

What's new and fresh this year at the conference? 

Among other updates, this year's conference website and marketing have been given a brand refresh. We'll also have an event app for the first time, allowing delegates to network, set meetings, and connect with each other via instant messaging. New social events have been created for visitors who bring family members to the island—we're offering a boat trip around Bermuda's stunning Great Sound, which we expect to be a big hit, based on the number of registrants already; we'll also have our annual trail walk and golf tournament. This year's gala dinner will wrap the conference at a brand new venue—the Commissioner's House, a British navy landmark on the westernmost point of Bermuda, inside the historic Royal Naval Dockyard.

Whom can attendees expect to come into contact with at the conference? 

Attendees will meet fellow risk managers, including longstanding captive owners, new owners, and those considering captive options for the first time. They'll also connect with a wealth of captive industry professionals from Bermuda and elsewhere, as well as our world-respected regulator, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, which operates a booth every year and has experts on hand to speak about the regulatory environment and the incorporation process. Other professionals who attend represent support services such as investment management companies, legal and accounting firms, and banks. While they're in Bermuda, of course, delegates can also take advantage of the opportunity to speak with the island's reinsurers and global commercial entities that have helped shape the market's reputation as the "World's Risk Capital."

A theme of diversity will be woven through this year's agenda, and we see that human rights visionary Derreck Kayongo and Hamilton Insurance Group's Jonathan Reiss, who oversees the company's Diversity and Inclusion initiative, will both be spotlight speakers at the conference. Tell us more about how the diversity theme will play into a conference-goer's experience.

We'll underscore the theme "Diversity" through our speakers, our agenda, our attendees, and the hot topics we'll be discussing. Our speakers, of course, demonstrate diversity in their respective backgrounds and careers. The variety of attendees also underscores the fact that this industry—and Bermuda's captive market, in particular—has a diverse, inclusive workforce. The agenda will also reflect the theme. An example is an opening-day session spotlighting female leaders in the industry—we're proud to feature some very successful women who have made it in Bermuda's financial sector. We know their stories and insights will be inspiring for the whole audience, including millennials just heading into captive industry careers.

What advice do you have for captive owners, risk managers, and insurance-professional attendees who are new to the captive industry?

I have spoken with many risk and insurance managers who were considering their captive options when they've attended our conference in the past. They found the opportunities to network with peers who may have more experience of the captive industry very useful and rewarding. I recommend that first-time attendees use the chance to network, and also take advantage of the many learning opportunities presented by 3 days of sessions featuring world-class captive practitioners from every area of the industry. Experts are featured on thought-provoking panels—and access to Bermuda's regulator is an added bonus.

What spells "success" in terms of expected outcomes for this year's Bermuda Captive Conference?

Real success in our view would be that the delegates attending our conference find it worthwhile and return to Bermuda as a result. Some of those who attend will progress, recognize Bermuda as the world's leading insurance domicile, and form new captives themselves. If delegates find our sessions innovative and useful, get to know Bermuda and its market, and then return to do business here—that's tangible success. We also hope that conference attendees get the chance to experience all Bermuda has to offer and, having done so, will consider Bermuda for their future vacations, as well as business.

Describe the captive regulatory environment in Bermuda and what makes it unique. 

Our regulatory environment developed over many years into a bespoke captive regime, offering different classes of license that recognize varying levels of regulation required as captive programs increase in complexity. These run the gamut from Class 1 that covers single-parent captives underwriting only the risks of their owners and affiliates, to Class 3, which can write some third-party business. What else differentiates Bermuda's market? The fact it's a sophisticated global re/insurance center with a mature infrastructure and world-class talent, honed over nearly six decades. Our collaborative culture also sets us apart: it's a place where government, regulators, and industry stakeholders come together to meet challenges, make decisions, and facilitate innovation.

Bermuda was the world's first captive domicile and now is the largest. Considering the increased competition from other jurisdictions, what keeps Bermuda thriving today, and what will make that continue into the future?

There are numerous factors responsible. The strength of our infrastructure to support the captive industry. Our market's long-established position as world leader in this sphere. The depth of experience found here. Our market's ability to evolve and innovate to reflect the evolution of risk is also notable. Examples of the latter would be the increasing use of captives to assist corporates with new and emerging exposures in fields such as cyber liability, climate change, and technological innovations like cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

How will the Bermuda Captive Conference be represented at RIMS and other events leading up to it?

Every year, Bermuda is heavily represented at RIMS. The premier, regulator, and hundreds of industry representatives attend. There's a popular Bermuda reception. We also have a prominent booth (No. 1045 this year) on the exhibit floor, operated by the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) and staffed by industry and regulatory sector volunteers. This year for the first time, the BDA is hosting an Executive Forum on the Tuesday morning (April 17) at RIMS sponsored by the Bermuda Captive Conference and featuring a panel of our industry experts. It will be a great opportunity for risk managers to learn more about captives. Bermuda's captive market and the conference will also get a boost the following month at a BDA Executive Forum being held May 2 in New York City where the keynote speaker, AIG CEO Brian Duperreault, will be presented by the Bermuda Captive Conference.

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