What is going on at IMAC right now, and what’s new?
The Insurance Managers Association of Cayman (IMAC) chair serves a two-year term, with the immediate vice chair taking over once that term is complete, so there is deliberate succession planning and continuity.
During this process a new vice chair is appointed, with the past chair remaining on the executive committee of IMAC. The remainder of the executive committee are officers—treasurer and secretary—and the chairs of the IMAC committees including the forum, marketing, legislative and regulatory, education, and research and development forums.
Generally, we have made some, but not wholesale, changes in the committee compositions, achieving better knowledge management and bringing in new blood and fresh ideas.
This is an opportunity to refresh the agenda. Collectively, the committees represent most insurance manager members of IMAC, and we also reach out to all members to ensure that the hard-working, voluntary organisation truly reflects and aligns with our members’ interests.
As the new IMAC chair, what are you working on?
It is important to maintain IMAC’s relationships with other stakeholders in the industry, and appropriate for every new chair to ensure continuity in these relationships.
Stakeholders include our full members (insurance managers), associate members (managed insurers, self-managed insurers and service providers to the industry), the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, the Ministry of Financial Services in the Cayman Islands Government, Cayman Finance Limited, and peer associations in other areas of the Cayman Islands financial services sector and in other jurisdictions.
High on the list of priorities is the 2017 Cayman Captive Forum, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in December.
Last year was described as a ‘phenomenal year’ for Cayman captives. What is being done to ensure 2017 follows suit?
It was a good year in terms of numbers of newly-licensed insurers. It is important to understand where the growth is coming from and the drivers, but also to determine where untapped opportunities lie, in order to inform our new business development efforts.
The collegiality and collaborative nature of IMAC, which is effectively an association of competitors, is one of the remarkable features of Cayman as an insurance jurisdiction.
When it comes to enhancing and growing our jurisdiction, we work together extremely well. We are certainly applying our collective wisdom to determining and highlighting what makes Cayman attractive to new licensees. We hope to see similar new licensing numbers in 2017, but as a mature domicile we are not simply chasing numbers.
We are interested in quality, and we are looking to innovate. That is the hallmark of Cayman’s success. Our managers will also be working to ensure that we provide the skills and resources to meet the requirements of our expanding and diversifying client base.
What are the most important ingredients that contribute to Cayman’s success?
The diversity of entities licensed in Cayman reflects a jurisdiction that is welcoming to innovation. While regulations have been enhanced to meet international standards, the approach to licensing and compliance remains the same: does the business plan make sense, and is the business sustainable?
Those principles apply regardless of the underlying risks and types of coverage, and provide for proportionate regulation. The alternative risk market exists to offer solutions that replace or complement traditional solutions, and it represents a broad spectrum of beneficiaries, from owners of single-parent captives to open-market reinsurers that are taking innovative approaches to financing risk.
Insurance-linked securities (ILS) are a good example of this. Now that ILS has become more mainstream, it is easy to forget just how novel the first Cayman issuers of catastrophe bonds were in the 1990s.
There was opportunity in the catastrophe property market to enhance the cycle of capacity usage and restoration, and Cayman was the jurisdiction approached to establish these innovative structures.
Another example of innovation in Cayman is our segregated portfolio company legislation and the more recent and refined addition of portfolio insurance company legislation.
These allow for interesting versatility in structuring transactions and programmes and have generated a lot of interest and growth.
What plans do you have going forward at IMAC? Is there anything in the pipeline?
There are opportunities for Cayman as a jurisdiction that has elected not to seek Solvency II equivalency, making it attractive as a domicile for commercial insurers and reinsurers.
That is one area of focus—getting the message about Cayman’s capabilities to the players in the life and annuity space and also the pension and longevity space. We are seeing Cayman cater to a more international and commercial audience than before.
We are taking a more proactive approach to our IMAC messaging, including three webinars planned for this year. These will provide an opportunity for IMAC to draw on the experience of our members and share some best practices.
We will be looking closely at emerging risks and emerging industries, which can benefit enormously from the alternative risk market for opportunities.
The 2017 Cayman Captive Forum is reaching a major milestone, and we can promise to once again exceed the expectations of attendees.
We will be working with other sectors of the Cayman financial services industry to ensure they understand the value proposition of our sector and to identify synergies and opportunities to be creative.
There is a sense of buoyancy in Cayman, and we will be working hard to ensure we keep up the momentum in new business development.