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Bermuda market evolves, but still serves core catastrophe needs


SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda — The Bermuda insurance market has evolved over the past 30 years to provide more products and choices for insurance buyers, but at its core it remains a source of coverage for low-frequency, high-severity events, a group of Bermuda market experts said Wednesday.

The Bermuda market “has certainly evolved, and I think it has evolved to the benefit of the consumer,” Frank N. D'Orazio, president of Bermuda and international insurance at Allied World Assurance Co. Ltd. in Hamilton, said during a panel discussion of developments in Bermuda's commercial insurance market. Thirty years from now, “the market will continue to be a market of excellence for catastrophe exposures, however that's defined,” Mr. D'Orazio said.

Another panelist, G. Rees Fletcher, president and CEO of Ace Bermuda Insurance Ltd. in Hamilton, said, “I don't really think there's a need in the Bermuda market to increase capacity. I think possibly there's a need to increase product offerings, to increase service levels.”

Over time, Bermuda-market insurance buyers' buying patterns “sort of ebb and flow,” moving between preferring to secure all their capacity from a single insurer and splitting it among multiple insurers, said Christopher W. Reeves, managing director at Marsh L.L.C. in Hamilton, who moderated the session.

But consistency of Bermuda policy forms has allowed the market to seamlessly address those changes in buying habits, said Catherine Duffy, senior vice president and underwriting manager at XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd. in Hamilton. “The market has been able to sustain itself because now there is a consistency of cover,” she said.