Larry Sherin describes the work of the Dublin International Insurance and Management Association (DIMA).

The first captive was incorporated in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in 1989, and DIMA was established the following year to provide a meeting forum for the non-life insurance sector of the IFSC. Today the number of captives established has grown to 153, and DIMA membership, which numbers 45, includes professional insurers and reinsurers, captive managers and “stand alone” captives.

DIMA has proved a very successful forum for the exchange of ideas, a lobby group for industry issues and a conduit for liaison with government departments and regulators. The association has an executive committee of 10 elected members who meet on a monthly basis and there is a quarterly meeting to which all members are invited. The executive committee election is designed so that both captive managers and professional insurers and reinsurers are adequately represented. This ensures topical issues relevant to both sectors are pursued effectively.

The international insurance representative, David Smith of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), attends executive meetings as marketing issues are high on the monthly agenda. The association has also developed a very good working relationship with the Department of Finance, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and The IDA.

All officers of the association are voluntary but the Insurance Institute of Ireland (III) provides all the necessary secretarial and administration services. Educational courses are organised jointly with the III which address both reinsurance accounting and underwriting subjects at various levels, basics, intermediate and advanced. Course leaders are drawn both from DIMA and the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), London, as well as other practitioners from the industry.

DIMA has played its part in fostering an attractive business environment for the IFSC's non-life insurance. Examples of some of the achievements in dealing with government agencies and regulators are:

Fund accounting
A five year fund accounting facility is available to IFSC captives, but not to agency reinsurers or commercial insurers and reinsurers. Fund accounting allows qualifying captives to defer tax on underwriting income for a period of five years. Tax on investment income, however, is paid on a current year basis. The fund accounting facility allows captives to build reserves against potential catastrophe claims that may materialise at a future time. Catastrophe reserves, unlike in other jurisdictions, are not allowed for tax purposes in Ireland.

The Tillinghast report
Tillinghast-Towers Perrin was retained jointly by DIMA and the IDA to report on the non-life insurance sector of the IFSC. The Tillinghast report set out a number of recommendations, the implementation of which will contribute to the continued success of the non-life insurance sector of the IFSC. One of the major recommendations, which has already been implemented, was the appointment of an international insurance representative - a dedicated marketing role that has already been referred to above.

An extract from a survey of DIMA members indicate the following statistics at the end of 1997. Figures for 1998 are not yet available but are expected to show an increase in premiums written to around IR£4 billion.

Number of employees
of member companies: 384
Premiums written: £3.2 billion
Shareholders' equity: £2.5 billion
Funds invested with Irish domiciled banks: £958 million

DIMA is aware of its role in promoting and developing the future development of the IFSC, and it recognises its responsibility to encourage and foster good working relationships with its business and government partners.

Larry Sherin is chairman of DIMA and general manager, Zurich International Services (Ireland) Ltd. Tel: +353 (0) 1 670 0988; fax: +353 (0) 1 670 1108.