International finance law firm The Walkers Group have today announced the launch of a new team within its structure who will provide dedicated resource to insurance-linked securities issues and transactions. The Walkers Insurance Linked Securities (ILS) Group brings together expertise from throughout Walkers regarding alternative risk transfer arrangements such as catastrophe bonds, reinsurance sidecars and securitisation vehicles.
Walkers ILS Group will feature dedicated, multi-jurisdictional lawyers from their Cayman Islands and Dublin offices. They will advise clients on the legal and practical aspects of using those domiciles for trading, financing and securitising risk. The Cayman Islands and Irish entities they will focus on include cash and synthetic catastrophe bonds, captive insurers, sidecars and life settlements.
“As the highly specialised market for Cat bonds has grown dramatically over the past decade — and is further expected to double over the next two or three years – the Cayman Islands and Ireland have emerged as the jurisdictions of choice for Cat bond issuing vehicles,” said Garry Ferguson, a partner in Walkers’ Dublin location. “At Walkers we understand the volatile nature of the insurance industry and our team is dedicated to helping our clients receive the best return on their risk through the provision of quality, commercially rooted advice.”
“With limited capacity in the insurance and reinsurance industry to underwrite new risks and with important regulatory changes regarding capital requirements underway in the form of Solvency II, insurers are increasingly looking to alternative channels to raise capital in order to cover catastrophic risks,” said Philip Paschalides, partner with Walkers from their Cayman Islands office. “With strong investor appetite we anticipate continued growth in this sector, particularly with the recent enhancements to the Insurance Law in the Cayman Islands, which introduced a new licensing category for Cat bond issuers.”
Walkers’ ILS Group is made up of lawyers who already have experience in these areas and the formation of this group demonstrates a commitment to these markets and desire to increase their involvement. Dublin-based partner Anthony Smyth who specialises in tax and is part of the new ILS Group, said; “Walkers’ attorneys have experience of working on the vast majority of the Cat bond transactions effected in Ireland to-date and our specialist Dublin-based taxation team builds efficient Irish tax structures based on a wealth of cross-border experience in the capital markets and structured products space.”
The new group also aims to help clients and sponsors with the licensing aspects of risk transfer transactions with support from their Regulatory team who work closely with the two domiciles financial regulators.