Editor’s note

Feeling more like our old selves

In some ways it feels as though things are starting to get back to normal, although there is still plenty of evidence around of just what an unusual year 2020 has been.

Schools reopened at the start of September, a necessary first step before offices can expect to see workers return in great numbers. How quickly that will happen remains to be seen, and is the subject of a survey, the results of which can be found in this issue.

The evidence suggests most people do not expect offices to start feeling like their old selves until we get into 2021, but more people will at least have the option of going into the office if they wish to.

The number of COVID-19 cases remains admirably low in Bermuda, which has been an example to the rest of the world in effective crisis management. As at September 1 Bermuda had seen a total of 172 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, of which six were active cases. While nine fatalities is still nine too many, it could have been much worse if the government had not moved so swiftly, and Bermudians had not been so responsible in their adherence to the rules.

While economic life has picked up, the Island is quieter than usual at this time of year. While the number of visitors is lower, Bermuda remains at the heart of things—and not only in terms of being the global capital of risk management and transfer.

“Digital conferences have come a long way in 2020, with organisers fine-tuning their offerings.”

The captive insurance industry usually descends on Bermuda in June for the annual captives conference, but with the physical event being cancelled this year, an even greater number of participants are expected to take part in September in a digital incarnation of the conference.

Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers (BILTIR) also accepted that a physical event would not be possible and is due to hold its seventh International Life & Annuity Conference virtually. The insurance-linked securities industry (ILS), meanwhile, is getting ready for a digital Convergence conference.

While many will regret missing out on the opportunity to visit the Island for a last bit of summer sun, the conference is still expected to be a great success. Digital conferences have come a long way in 2020, with organisers fine-tuning their offerings and learning what works well—and not so well—from those who put on their own events earlier in the year.

This issue brings you interviews with a number of well-known Bermudians, including Konrad Rentrup, the former chief executive of Hannover Re who recently retired. Bob Richards, the former Minister of Finance, spoke candidly about the issues facing the re/insurance industry, as well as the racial tensions that continue to cast a long shadow in the US, Europe and Bermuda.

We spoke to AkinovA, one of Bermuda’s biggest insurtech success stories, about the need for a secondary market for insurance, and how AkinovA itself can be for this industry what Swift is for banks.

In our ILS section there is more detail about an exciting development in the sector: the first ever securitisation of trapped capital, which ILS Capital Management believes could be a solution to a problem that has dogged re/insurers for years.

Solomon Teague, editor

Image: https://www.instagram.com/martsellar/

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September 2020

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