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Bermuda: the new standard setter?

Hamilton: headquarters for cutting-edge
insurance companies

The citizens of Hamilton, Bermuda, are well used to seeing expensively dressed business executives drifting in and out of their gleaming glass and metal towers. But they may not be aware that their small island in the mid-north Atlantic - 22 square miles in size with a population of just 65,000 people - is increasingly viewed as the capital of the global insurance industry. How has this happened?

The Bermuda story really kicked off in 1986 after an explosion in legal liability claims in the US in the mid 1980s - in particular relating to asbestosis - caused a severe capacity crunch which meant that US industrial companies were virtually unable to buy high-level insurance at any price.US insurance broking giant Marsh&McLennan and a group of Fortune 100 companies joined forces to form two Bermuda-based vehicles - Ace and XL - that would self-insure these high severity/low frequency risks.

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