NU Online News Service, Jan. 19, 1:06 p.m.EST

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The Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) reports a 50 percentyear-on-year increase in new insurance registrations for Bermuda in2011, with 54 new insurers recorded compared to 36 by the end ofDecember 2010.

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Shelby Weldon, director, Insurance, Licensing and Authorizationsays the 2011 increase includes the majority of classes in theBermuda market, ranging from captives and special-purpose insurers(SPIs), to insurers in the commercial sector.

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The sector with the greatest single number of registrations in2011 was SPIs with 23 new registrations compared to eight in 2010.BMA adds that since it established the regulations to accommodateSPIs, Bermuda has seen growing interest from the market.

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"There has been more momentum in actual SPI registrations overthe past year as the market is recognizing the benefits of takingadvantage of this option inBermuda," Weldon tells NU Online NewsService. "The majority of those formations were created for issuingcatastrophe bonds on the heels of the recent major catastrophicevents experienced globally, and generally in relation toinsurance-linked securities transactions."

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Bermuda also saw increases in commercial (re)insurers, includingtwo new large (Class 4) entities: PAC Re and Third Point, headds.

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The new insurers were primarily from the United States. "Therewere also some from Europe as well as Canada, from which we areseeing growing interest," Weldon says, adding, "Indications fromindustry participants are that, overall, the ability to offerexpertise in captive insurance, reinsurance and commercialinsurance in what has been a challenging soft market has remained astrength for Bermuda."

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Bermuda "continues with its progressive regulatory agenda andwithin the context of very challenging global market conditions inthe insurance sector," Weldon says. "This data indicates themarket's continued confidence inBermuda as a world-class insurancejurisdiction."

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