RPC leads insurance charge to Bermuda

Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) is sending a reconnaissance team to Bermuda to scout the possibility of launching on the island.

Reynolds Porter Chamberlain

(RPC) is sending a reconnaissance team to Bermuda to scout the possibility of launching on the island.

The firm’s initiative comes as a growing number of UK firms look to join UK-based insurance and reinsurance brokers that have relocated to the offshore haven.

In addition to RPC, other major insurance law firms such as Clyde & Co, Kennedys and Norton Rose have all indicated that Bermuda is on their radar.

Jonathan Watmough, a corporate partner at RPC, said: “With the migration of many insurers and reinsurers to Bermuda, it’s only natural their lawyers will follow them. We certainly spend a lot of time there visiting our clients.”

Kennedys chief executive Ric Martin said his firm was looking at the UK overseas territory. But his immediate priority is Singapore, where the firm is planning to open in the second half of the year. Singapore is also attracting the attention of firms with strong insurance practices (see back page).

“Bermuda is an expensive place to set up,” said Martin. “Some of the insurers are based there, but a lot are also based on the US mainland, so we’re evaluating it.”

Both Clydes and Norton Rose have indicated that, if the restrictions on foreign lawyers were lifted, they would set up in the UK overseas territory.

Under current restrictions, according to the Bermuda Registrar of Companies that authorises new firms’ launches, the only restriction is that firms must employ Bermuda-qualified lawyers, which also covers those who are dual-qualified.