THE Cayman Islands Monetary Authority licensed 76 additional captive insurance companies in 2004. The 7% increase in registrations brings the total number of active captives at year-end to 694, writing some $6bn in premiums and reporting assets of $22bn.

Of the new captives, 40 were healthcare related, the others writing workers' compensation, general liability, property, product liability and motor liability.

Of these, 13 were formed as segregated portfolio companies, bringing the total number of such companies to 93 with 394 segregated portfolios operating within them.

Some 43 new portfolios were established in 2004. The majority of Cayman Islands captives emanate from the US. Commenting on the 7%, head of insurance supervision Mary-Lou Gallegos said it was a show of confidence in the islands as a captive domicile.

Early this month the British Virgin Islands (BVI) also reported growth in captive registrations. The number of captives licensed in the BVI last year rose by almost 25% with some 67 new formations. This brings the total number registered on the island by the end of 2004 to 350.

Bermuda remains the world's largest domicile by captive numbers. According to the latest reported figures, the total number of captives registered on the island was 1,603 in 2002.