Serendipitously timed 2019 start-up Convex is making a statement about the importance of the Bermuda (re)insurance market by relocating its headquarters to what will soon become one of the island’s largest office blocks, Point House.
- $3.2bn Convex in statement-of-intent Bermuda office move
- Aon also moving into prestige Front St development
- Island (re)insurance economy buoyant as rates harden and recent ~$19bn capital flow
- London underwriters and brokers relocate from lockdown UK
Located on Front Street in Hamilton, the former HSBC building is undergoing a major renovation to create over 85,000 feet of commercial space. Tenants – which also include global broker Aon and a number of legal firms – will move in later this year.
The move comes as Bermuda is once again enjoying time as the industry’s island in the sun. Around $19bn of capital is estimated to have poured into the island in 2020-21 to back existing carriers – such as Convex, Fidelis and RenaissanceRe – and “Class of 2020” start-ups such as Conduit Re, Mosaic and Vantage.
In addition, major established Lloyd’s carriers such as Ark, Canopius and Chaucer have all established Class 4 (re)insurers on the island within the last six months following 2020 capital injections.
Meanwhile, the Bermuda government has received plaudits for its management of the pandemic crisis. Combined with a swift vaccination roll-out, it means most insurance entities on the island have re-opened their offices and face-to-face meetings are once again commonplace, in contrast to rival reinsurance centres such as London or Zurich.
Convex is understood to be taking floors five and six of the Front Street building while Aon is taking floors two, three and four.
Point House – which is owned by the Green family, owners of the nearby Hamilton Princess hotel – will shortly become one of the flagship insurance buildings on Front Street, the Bermudian equivalent of London’s Lime Street.
Since launching for business in March 2019, Convex’s Bermuda operations have been led by former Fidelis executive Ben Savill.
The Stephen Catlin-led firm has now hired more than 350 staff, with most based in its London-headquarters – another newly built statement building, The Scalpel, which looms over Lloyd’s at the entrance to Lime Street.
Speaking exclusively to The Insurer TV earlier this year, Convex co-founder Catlin hailed the use of its proprietary London and Bermuda platforms as contributing factors behind the 2019 global specialty start-up’s rapid growth.
Convex says it wrote more than $1bn of gross premium in 2020 across a range of specialty classes, including property, casualty, energy, aviation and financial lines.
Launched with an initial $1.7bn by Catlin and Paul Brand, its capital base has expanded to $3.2bn following equity and hybrid raises last year supported by existing and new shareholders.
In addition to the “Class of 2020” start-ups, Bermuda is also home to Lixin Zeng and Richard Lowther’s ILS fund manager start-up Integral ILS, which earlier this year secured a cornerstone investment from New Holland Capital that took its signed commitments to $600mn.
The island also saw the launch of SiriusPoint last month following the merger of Third Point Re with Sirius, creating a new reinsurer with $3bn of capital and $2.3bn of existing business.
Richard Brindle’s Fidelis has also bolstered its presence on the island after a flurry of successful capital raises last year by parachuting in a number of its London-based executives and underwriters.
Meanwhile, a number of London brokers are bolstering their Bermuda presence, including Corant Global – the rebranded BGC Insurance – which has made a number of hires on the island including Willis Towers Watson’s Paul Scope, RFIB’s Kevin Stratton and Gallagher Re’s former Bermuda head Neville Ching.
Rival London wholesaler Oneglobal launched a Bermuda office in January under the leadership of former RFIB executive Craig Douglas as executive director and former JLT Insurance Management CEO and executive chairman Kilian Whelan as COO.
The Insurer comment
Bermuda’s tourism economy has inevitably been badly hit by the pandemic but – in contrast – there is a tangible sense of optimism among carriers and producers on the island. Is Bermuda readying itself for a new (re)insurance golden era as rates harden and it once again becomes a magnet for capital and talent?