The third reinsurance company to set up shop in the Cayman Islands now has a new address in Camana Bay.
Although its official opening celebration wasn’t until Dec. 4, Aureum Re and its seven employees moved into its new office on the third floor of the 94 Solaris Avenue building in September.
Reinsurance companies are basically insurers for insurance companies that do business with the general public.
Aureum Re CEO David Towriss said his company will primarily reinsure fixed and indexed annuities from United States-based insurance companies, a growing niche market that has been under-serviced.
The name “Aureum” was chosen because it is the Latin derivative of the word “gold” and it represents the business standards the company has adopted, Towriss said, noting that his daughter designed the firm’s logo.
As a privately owned company, Aureum Re is able to stay nimble in structuring its reinsurance solutions with insurers. “We do not have a complicated corporate hierarchy in terms of getting deals done,” said VP Finance, Operations and Business Development Kristian Leese. “Our straightforward approach and efficiency in the way we can work with clients supports our value proposition.”
In less than one year, Aureum Re already has nearly $3 billion of annuity reserves under management, Towriss said.
“We’ve seen significant growth right away and we are bullish about our prospects for further growth,” he said. “Our aim is to have $6 billion under management by the end of 2018.”
Once the investors decided to establish Aureum Re, they had to decide where it should be domiciled.
“We looked at Bermuda, which most people would consider the likely choice,” said Towriss, referring to the fact that Bermuda is perceived as a leading domicile for reinsurance companies in the offshore world.
However, Bermuda has adopted Solvency II, a European Union insurance regulatory regime that the Cayman Islands does not intend to adopt.
“As a U.S.-focused reinsurer, Solvency II is not something that benefits us,” said Towriss. “If we were focused on European business, we would have to operate under Solvency II, but that’s not the case.”
In addition, Towriss said the Cayman Islands — through the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, which regulates the financial services industry including insurers — has been proactive in trying to attract new reinsurers to the country.
“Cayman has a great story to tell,” he said, adding that Aureum Re has found the regulator to be very accessible and responsive, and that establishing the company in the Cayman Islands was a transparent and smooth process.
Other factors Aureum Re considered in making its domicile decision included Bermuda’s payroll tax, the Cayman Islands’ superior credit rating and Grand Cayman’s talent pool of qualified financial services industry professionals, Towriss said. In addition, factors such as not having restrictions on car ownership and having the option of a 25-year work permit for senior executives also played a part in the decision to domicile in the Cayman Islands.
“Cayman is an incredible place to live and work,” said Towriss.
WHY CAMANA BAY?
Once Aureum was established, Towriss set out to hire staff and find permanent office space. He and his team looked at several spaces in George Town and then finally at Camana Bay.
“This was the last place we looked at and it was so far above the quality of the other places we considered,” Towriss said.
Although the 94 Solaris Avenue space is larger than they currently need, Towriss said he liked the Camana Bay waterfront location and wanted to ensure there was ample space for the company’s expected growth so that it didn’t have to move offices down the line.
“The staff will grow with the business and we will look to recruit further headcount in the coming quarters,” he said.
The office offers a contemporary, clean design and Towriss believes clients and employees will appreciate the space, which includes a large saltwater aquarium filled with tropical fish and the many collaborative break-out workstations.
“We’re not a high-volume business, but when we do have clients visit, we look forward to welcoming them to Camana Bay and to our new office.”