Numbers Game: Collecting 2016’s year-end captive insurance statistics

While regulators, managers, lawyers and other service providers worked up to midnight on 31 December frantically trying to license new captives, for Captive Review the task of collecting accurate year-end figures from domiciles around the world begun the first week of January.

This exercise creates a number of challenges which I have addressed in previous Editor’s Letters, but it is appropriate to outline a couple of rules I will be applying as we go about compiling an accurate and consistent global picture of the captive market over the next two months.

First, it is important to note that captive statistics are not treated as ‘exclusive’ information. All domiciles, even the most secretive, will provide some degree of statistical update if requested and the vast majority will provide answers to any raw data question.

When collecting the 2015 figures, Captive Review endeavored to collect a breakdown of new licences issued, a broad ‘surrendered licence’ number and a further breakdown of its year-end total count of active captives. We have taken this a step further for 2016, requesting a breakdown by type of those licences surrendered.

As stated above, the majority of domiciles are happy to play ball where possible but some are more sophisticated at their data collection than others.

Some domiciles, such as Vermont, the District of Columbia, South Carolina and most European domiciles, have the figures quite easily at their fingertips, while others take a little more time.

As with 2015’s statistics, Captive Review will count individual cells and series captives as a separate figure from the traditional pure, association and RRG numbers that are reported.

Industry opinion is split as to whether individual cells and series should count towards the total captive figure, and Dan Towle and Hugh Rosenbaum argued both sides well in a debate piece for Captive Review in March 2016.

One of the major problems when counting cells is a handful of domiciles either decline or are unable to provide the number of individual cells housed within their cell companies. As such, whatever figure Captive Review lands on as to cells and series, it should be treated as someway short of reality.

Lastly, while pure captives, group/association entities and RRGs enjoy relatively consistent labels across domiciles there are, particularly in the United States, a number of variations on captive types. When reporting each domicile’s statistics online, we will use the exact term cited in their statute, but when we bring all the statistics together some captive types will be brought into more universal categories.

I hope you find our statistical reporting helpful over the next eight weeks and, as ever, I welcome all feedback and comment. Our objective is provide a consistent and accurate picture of captive growth around the world and I look forward to reporting further information.

If you are interested in following the domicile figures as they come in, they will be collected here. The March edition of Captive Review will feature a full report, breakdown and analysis from captive domiciles around the world.

Richard Cutcher

Editor

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