David Smith introduces a directory of the (re)insurance operations and captives in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).

The year 2000 sees not only the start of a new millennium but also the start of a new era for Dublin's IFSC.

In 1987 the Irish government was granted permission by the European Union (EU) to offer a 10% corporate tax rate to approved firms operating in the IFSC.Since then the IFSC has created 5,000 new direct jobs in over 400 new stand alone companies and a further nearly 400 managed entities. The non-life insurance sector has seen the arrival of many of the leading international players in all areas, including direct writing, international brokerage, commercial reinsurance, captives, financial reinsurance and other related operations.

The list of IFSC players is a “who's who” of international insurance including Aon, XL, Marsh & McLennan, Sinser, Willis Corroon, Hannover Re, Cologne Re, Winterthur, Swiss Re. These names were joined last year by ACE, Starr Excess, Liberty Mutual, ESG and outside of the IFSC Generali (back office processing and call centre), Sun Life of Canada (software project), Delta Dental (software project), Oxford Health Plans (back office processing), IPC RE and Renaissance Re.

On the captive front over 150 captives have been established, a third of which are direct writers. While North American captives continue to hold the major share by parent company, the IFSC is proving attractive to Japanese, Italian and UK firms. In 1998, the first Austrian and Turkish captives were approved. Employee benefits on multiyear, multiline programmes are establishing in the captive marketplace.

The Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is the Irish government's agency responsible for attracting overseas investments into Ireland. Its role is to both attract new projects into Ireland and to assist existing companies in broadening and deepening their range of activities in Ireland. With its 227 staff and overseas offices it is well placed to meet these firms.

It is the IDA's intention to ensure Dublin is at the forefront of international development. To this end a monthly meeting is held in the Taoiseach's (prime minister's) department involving the IDA, the finance ministry, the regulators, prominent tax and legal advisors and industry practitioners. Chaired by a member of the Dublin International Insurance Managers Association (DIMA), this group discusses developments in the IFSC marketplace and considers any reaction needed by both the government and private sector to ensure the IFSC remains well positioned to avail of future opportunities.

Current items on the insurance working group's agenda include developments in the ART market, insurance securitisation, protected cell structures, attracting P&I clubs, pan-European employee benefits, association captives and increasingly the presence of Asian insurers and association captives.

The insurance working group is only one of many examples of the close relationship that exists between the state system and the IFSC practitioners that has been a cornerstone of the centre's flexibility and growth.

David Smith is the international insurance representative, IDA Ireland. Tel: +353 (0) 1 603 4069; fax: +353 (0) 1 603 4155; E-mail: david.smith@ida.ie; http://www.idaireland.ie