7 May 2014EMEA analysis

Guernsey still top insurance domicile in Europe, figures show

Guernsey licensed 99 new international insurers in the 12 months to the end of March this year.

This includes 8 limited companies, 5 protected cell companies (PCCs), 73 PCC cells, 3 incorporated cell companies (ICCs) and 10 ICC cells.

Further data on these newly licensed entities shows that their owners’ geographical origin is approximately split into thirds: one third from the UK; one third from the Cayman Islands; and one third from other jurisdictions, including Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Bermuda, USA, Singapore, South Africa and Australia.

The latest figures show that there were a total of 790 international insurers licensed in the Island at the end of March 2014, over half of which were PCC cells. This compares to 752 licensed insurers at the end of March 2013, meaning there was net growth of 38 entities during the 12 month period.

Fiona Le Poidevin, chief executive of Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the island’s finance industry, says: “There appears to be no let-up in the number of international insurance licence applications being approved by the Guernsey regulator. We are seeing continuing growth in new entities related to ILS transactions but also a steady stream of more conventional captive insurance vehicles.”

Le Poidevin continues, “A strong proportion of our business continues to originate from the UK but there is also a growing amount coming from competitor domiciles in Europe such as Ireland, Luxembourg and Switzerland, jurisdictions on the other side of the Atlantic, whether the USA, Cayman or Bermuda, and also the markets of Singapore, South Africa and Australia. This demonstrates the truly international nature of our client base and shows that Guernsey continues to be the jurisdiction of choice for insurance services by firms from around the globe.”

Le Poidevin adds, “Guernsey’s insurance sector remains buoyant and we have seen a particularly significant increase in ILS transactions being structured through the Island during the last 12 to 18 months. The fact that we have strength and depth across both the insurance and investment sectors means that the Island is ideally placed to service this business and the continued demand for ILS is something we are looking to capitalise on further during this year, not least through our upcoming event in Zurich. However, it is also pleasing that Guernsey continues to prove attractive for the more conventional captive insurance business which has been a staple of the industry for many years.”