The origins of Guernsey’s insurance industry date back to the 18th century. The first captive insurance company was incorporated in 1922 and since then, Guernsey has become the world’s leading centre for non-US and international captive insurance. As the leading captive insurance domicile in Europe, Guernsey has a third of the entire European captive market, with more than 300 active structures, including the captives for some 20% of the UK’s FTSE 100. In addition to UK companies, a number of firms in Europe, USA, Middle East, Asia, South Africa, Australia and the Caribbean have established captives in Guernsey.
2020 saw the market development of a pilot scheme for pre-authorisation for insurance cells from the regulator, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. Demonstrating a flexible approach to regulation, and enabling buyers to increase their control over difficult renewals during the current market cycle, it immediately proved popular. Guernsey has also been at the forefront of the development of longevity risk transfer. Recent years has seen several ground-breaking longevity swap structures established in Guernsey using captive insurance companies in place of insurance intermediaries, cutting out intermediary fees and removing the need for price averaging.
More recently, Guernsey has also been increasingly recognised as a centre for reinsurance and insurance linked securities; with special purpose insurers used for catastrophe bonds, sidecars and life-based securitisation. The island’s insurance sector continues to be recognised for excellence, with a string of awards for European domicile of the year and also, in recent years, as a non-Asian domicile serving the Asian market. In keeping with the island’s status as a leading centre for green and sustainable finance, Guernsey continues to develop plans to enhance green insurance, a proposal currently focused on the island’s life assurance sector.