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Bernina Re launched as flagship reinsurer for Credit Suisse ILS team


Bernina Re Ltd. has been established and launched by the Credit Suisse Insurance Linked Strategies Ltd. team as a new reinsurance company, with the goal that Bernina Re should become the flagship reinsurance platform for the Credit Suisse ILS offering.

Bernina Re Ltd. is a Bermuda based Class 3A reinsurance company that has been established to underwrite business on behalf of the Credit Suisse ILS strategies and funds.

The company said that Bernina Re is a “key addition” to the Credit Suisse ILS platform and is already managing more than $2 billion in trading volume for the investment management team that now has over $9 billion of ILS assets under management.

Michael McKnight ACAS MAAA has been appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer & Chief Risk Officer of Bernina Re Ltd., effective as of May 28th 2018.

Bernina Re is fully is Solvency II compliant, which the Credit Suisse ILS team said will allow it to more efficiently underwrite reinsurance contracts in other domiciles that are Solvency II compliant, such as Switzerland, EU countries and Japan.

CEO McKnight, a property and casualty actuary, brings more than 30 years of insurance and reinsurance experience to his role at Bernina Re, the majority of which was gained in the Bermuda marketplace.

He has previously held the roles of Chief Actuary & Chief Risk Officer at hedge fund linked reinsurer Third Point Re, Chief Actuary of Max Capital Group, and Chief Underwriting Officer of Gerling Global International Reinsurance Company.

Niklaus Hilti, CEO of Credit Suisse Insurance Linked Strategies Ltd., commented on the launch, “We have chosen to establish Bernina Re in Bermuda at this time for numerous reasons including the fact that it is a highly respected jurisdiction and enjoys Solvency II equivalence with Switzerland and other European countries. Furthermore, Bermuda is a well-established international insurance industry jurisdiction that is held in high regard throughout the insurance and reinsurance community.

“We believe Michael brings a unique skillset to our team and has the experience to lead Bernina Re as we build out the platform. Proper risk management and governance are fundamental cornerstones of our operation, and we believe Michael will be key in assuring that we adhere to our high standards.”

McKnight added, “I have been following the progress of CS ILS for years and have always been impressed by their innovation in the ILS space. They have a proven track record of both attracting capital and deploying that capital in an efficient and profitable manner. The head of CS ILS, Niklaus Hilti, has assembled a tremendous team of talented professionals, and I look forward to working closely with them.”

Bernina Re Ltd. adds to the platform that the Credit Suisse ILS team has available to it already, which includes broad market access and positions in the catastrophe bond and reinsurance markets, using a combination of collateralized reinsurance transactions, rated reinsurers which include the Kelvin Re and Humboldt Re, and the Arcus 1856 syndicate at Lloyd’s of London.

This type of broad market access is becoming essential for insurance-linked securities (ILS) managers seeking to build large and diverse portfolios for their investor base.

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