Coming Soon: The Bermuda Angle With Patrick Tannock
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Not only does Bermuda have the expert knowledge and innovative culture to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems – it also has a business environment that allows groundbreaking products to be applied rapidly in the real world.
So says Patrick Tannock, Chairman of the Association of Bermuda International Companies and CEO of AXA XL’s Bermuda Insurance Operations. He believes the island’s regulatory framework and speed to market are key attractions for businesses that have helped to make Bermuda a global hub for re/insurance expertise and capital.
To get a new insurance product off the ground in the United States, for example, would require approval from all of the state regulators – Bermuda has a strong, prudent yet pragmatic regulatory framework. We have an internationally credible regulator with a track record of accommodating innovation with less red tape, Mr. Tannock says.
“One misconception is that Bermuda is a place to hide capital – it’s not, it’s a place where you come to put capital to work”
“One misconception is that Bermuda is a place to hide capital – it’s not, it’s a place where you come to put capital to work,” Mr. Tannock says. “The ability for us to match up innovation with capital and to address market needs is unique, especially in terms of the speed at which we do it.
“When you look at how fast things are evolving and how bureaucracy gets in the way in other jurisdictions, then by the time capital is applied to the situation, it can already be obsolete. That doesn’t happen in Bermuda. The detachment of capital from risk is disintegrating as the industry enters a new era of capital on demand or just in time capital and we fit in well with that.”
Mr. Tannock describes the Bermuda market as “a dynamic, solution-oriented, entrepreneurial marketplace that has developed a culture premised on innovation and calculated risk”.
The foundations on which the world-leading re/insurance market has been built include a proven track record of reliably and efficiently paying hundreds of billions of dollars in natural disaster claims over the past 30 years, he adds.
International recognition of the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s insurance regulation, which has third-country equivalence with the EU’s Solvency II regime and Qualified Jurisdiction status from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in the US, creates an ideal framework in which to conduct international business, he adds.
Other ingredients in what Mr. Tannock describes as “Bermuda’s secret sauce” are the island’s proximity to New York (just a two-hour flight away); the willingness of government, industry and the regulator to work together to strengthen the business environment; the concentration of highly-skilled talent; the location that allows us to work across time zones on both sides of the Atlantic; our fit for purpose regulatory framework that is based on the risk profile of commercial insurers and/or captives; and the island’s economic, social and political stability. In addition, the island is safe and has good schools and beautiful surroundings, making it a wonderful place to live, as well as work.
Mr. Tannock says that international business drives a significant percentage of Bermuda’s GDP and provides hundreds of jobs and substantial charitable contributions but points out that the sector needs to work hard to address misconceptions.
“There are many initiatives to raise awareness of the value of international business. We are committed to Bermuda and care that it remains socially, economically and politically stable.”
As a born Bermudian Mr. Tannock is passionate about his fellow islanders having access to opportunities to forge a career in international business, regardless of their background or race. He has played a leading role in a strong Diversity, Equity & Inclusion movement that has taken hold in Bermuda.
“Although I still don’t believe we are where we need to be, I believe Bermuda has an opportunity to show the rest of the world that diversity and inclusion can really be a differentiator in terms of being a top-tier business jurisdiction. The more diverse workforce we have, in terms of different perspectives, backgrounds and ideas, the more successful Bermuda will be and that’s been proven many times over.”
In the awarding of scholarships, which in Bermuda is helping to level the playing field in terms of access to education, Mr. Tannock says it’s important not to overlook those lacking a history of charitable volunteerism, because they have been busy working to supplement a modest family income. “Some of the kids who are packing grocery bags sometimes have better multitasking skills than those doing a lot of extra-curricular activities,” he adds.
Other qualities needed for a young person seeking an IB career? “You must have a thirst for learning,” Mr. Tannock advises. “Improving your intellectual net worth every day is critical in terms of making sure your skill sets remain relevant.”