Cayman Captive Forum mulls expanded agenda as industry absorbs CICA cancellation
With CICA having cancelled its annual conference due to the Coronavirus, the captive industry conference-going community will have to wait a little longer for the opportunity to meet new and old colleagues and discuss industry trends over break-time coffee and cakes.
For those that fail to make some of the other annual captive conferences in places such as Bermuda or Vermont this year (assuming those events go ahead), the next opportunity may be as late as December, when Cayman International Insurance (CII) hosts the Cayman Captive Forum 2020.
CII is already looking ahead to its annual captive conference in December. It is keen to build on a product that is already well regarded among delegates, many of whom have been attending annually for years. To this end, it has been considering adding new sessions to broaden the scope of the subjects it addresses.
Colin Robinson, director at Strategic Risk Solutions and chair of both CII and CII's scholarship committee, said: “Around a third of the conference attendees work specifically in the healthcare sector and they like the amount of coverage we give to that specific industry. But there is scope for us to cover some new subjects, such as reinsurance. We would be open to working with the Cayman International Reinsurance Companies Association to develop that.”
The conference sees growing interest every year, but already attracts as many delegates as the conference can accommodate, with around 1500 attending in 2019. The money raised by the conference helps finance the IMAC Scholarship Fund, which is principally about raising the profile of the captive industry.
Like many people responsible for advocating the insurance industry, Robinson is particularly concerned about the demographic challenge looming ahead of it. In the insurance industry generally, there is a considerable amount of experience set to be lost over the next few years as people retire. In the captives industry, the problem is perhaps even more acute. “Insurance is already a niche market, but captives are a niche within that niche,” Robinson said.
Despite this, Robinson stressed the fund is not only about resolving that problem. While it is principally intended for students studying finance, it is also available to other students, he noted. “It is not just about the captive industry, it is about developing Cayman’s society more broadly,” he explained.
To date more than 40 students have received grants from the fund, with around 15 current students currently receiving assistance.
CII also continues its work engaging with the Cayman government to help it draft legislation that around economic substance or other matters relevant to the insurance industry.
Dena Thompson at Artex, who chairs CII’s legislative and regulatory committee, reviews all proposals that impacts the captives industry, whether that is directly or indirectly, for example by amending rules around anti money laundering.
The captives industry is estimated to contribute around $100 million to the Cayman economy every year, said Robinson, though the actual figure is no doubt higher than this as it does not take into account the spending by visitors who come to the island because of captives.
Robinson said: “Cayman is lucky to have a government and a regulator that work so well with the industry. The government has a long-term commitment to this industry that has endured throughout the last 25-30 years. There aren’t many jurisdictions that can demonstrate such a long commitment to this industry.”
Meanwhile, like many others in Cayman’s financial services community, Robinson was surprised at the news of Cayman’s black-listing in February. The island had shared its plans for compliance with the EU’s economic substance requirements, which it thought had been received favourably.
Robinson said: Cayman’s economic substance requirements for insurance and reinsurance entities have been approved by the EU and OECD previously and we don’t see the listing change as any sign that those laws are inadequate. We see this as a purely technical matter and fully expect to see our listing status change at the next possible opportunity.
CIMA figures show only around 2 percent of Cayman’s insurance business involves Europe, and around half of what it does do with Europe is with the UK. Any blacklisting of Cayman by the EU would therefore have limited direct impact on the island’s captives business.