Exactly the time to have a Bermuda office’
Two months after his arrival in Bermuda, insurance industry veteran Richard Tomkins has already experienced the best and worst of the island.
A hole-in-one on the 165-yard seventh hole at Mid Ocean Club, combined with the wrath of Hurricane Humberto which sent a 30-foot cedar tree crashing onto the yard of the Hamilton Parish house he shares with wife Julie, gave the 51-year-old Englishman a quick introduction to the flipsides of Bermuda life.
Mr Tomkins has relocated from London, where he was managing director of reinsurance at Tysers, to become managing director of Tysers (Bermuda) Ltd, the mid-Atlantic affiliate of the venerable Lloyd’s of London broker, which next year will celebrate its 200th year in business.
Tysers was acquired by Integro Insurance Brokers Holding, the company Mr Tomkins joined in 2006, in the fall of 2018. That acquisition was quickly followed by Integro’s sale of its US retail business to Epic Brokers, part of the seller’s broader strategy to be a fully independent worldwide broker.
Integro, which has had a servicing office here for US retail business since 2007, has now rebranded on-island as Tysers.
Knowing that Mr Tomkins was bullish about the opportunities that a Bermuda office presented, his boss Andrew Behrends asked Mr Tomkins to write a business plan. “Four months later, here I am,” Mr Tomkins said.
He added: “This is exactly the time to have an office in Bermuda, a time when there are problems getting adequate insurance capacity from other markets around the world, including Lloyd’s. We need a proper way for our worldwide clients to access the Bermuda insurance and reinsurance market.”
London-based Tysers employs more than 500 people and handles upwards of $2 billion in annual premiums working with leading re/insurance markets worldwide to deliver risk solutions to a global client base with global exposure.
In addition to the aforementioned reinsurance unit, Tysers at Lloyd’s also focuses on management risk/professional liability; international (other than US/UK) property and casualty; special risks — Tysers is the largest broker for insuring stallions; US P&C, giving managing general agencies in the US access to the Lloyd’s market; marine and aviation; and sports and entertainment, for events such as Formula One auto racing, and for entertainers regarding contingency/non-appearance.
“I’ve just been asked to find some capacity for Elton John’s next tour,” Mr Tomkins said.
He added: “Across all those divisions, we have dislocated business in Lloyd’s that needs a new home. We have clients that have needs and Lloyd’s and other markets are not fulfilling those needs. So, we need to find a solution in the Bermuda market.”
And where might that solution be found? “All in the ‘Pitts Bay village’,” Mr Tomkins quipped.
In addition to serving existing clients, and providing solutions for prospects and clients where other markets are constrained by either capital or regulation, geographically well-positioned Tysers Bermuda has other intentions.
It seeks to be an independent access point for the Bermuda market for other independent worldwide brokers, as well as producing reinsurance business from within this market from traditional re/insurers as well as the ILS market.
Mr Tomkins said: “I am a specialist reinsurance broker at heart, and that area is underserved in this marketplace. The reinsurance broking community here is polarised towards property cat and property retro. There are opportunities in the areas of casualty, other speciality lines like surety, project finance, D&O, anything other than property cat and property retro.”
Familiar with Bermuda from numerous visits, Mr Tomkins said he wants to build the brokerage business in a non-traditional manner.
“We are not just flag-wavers, we want to make strategic partnerships with other entities,” he said. “I am meeting new people here that I have never met before.
“I see the ILS space as an interesting place in which to develop relationships. I think they are looking to diversify within their models. There is only so much property cat and property retro that you can write.
“If investors are giving you money, you need to deploy it in a diverse way that is different to the core of your offering. They don’t need any more Florida exposure.”
He added, more broadly: “From my own research, and from talking to people that I trust, the market here is growing beyond the traditional excess casualty and excess professional liability along with property cat and property retro, to represent other areas.
“Our plan here is to complement how businesses here are changing as well.”
More than three decades into a career that he began as a claims broker, in part because his father-in-law was a broker at Lloyd’s, Mr Tomkins said he continues to enjoy the business.
“In 1987 I thought ‘I’ll give this a go’.” he said. “Thirty-two years later, I am still doing it and I love it.”
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