The Cayman Islands were first sighted by European explorers on the 10th of May, 1503, owing to a chance wind that blew Christopher Columbus' ship off course. On his fourth trip to the New World, Columbus was en route to the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic) when his ship was thrust westward toward "two very small and low islands, full of tortoises (turtles), as was all the sea all about, insomuch that they looked like little rocks, for which reason these islands were called Las Tortugas."
The two islands were Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. A 1523 map showing all three Islands gave them the name Lagartos, meaning alligators or large lizards, but by 1530 the name Caymanas was being used. It is derived from the Carib Indian word for the marine crocodile, which is now known to have lived in the Islands. This name, or a variant, has been retained ever since.Cayman Islanders have a tradition of hardiness and independence of spirit, which sustained them through many difficult years when their home was sometimes referred to as "the islands time forgot." In those years, they earned a livelihood at sea, either as turtle fishermen or as crew members on foreign-owned ships, or by working in North and Central America. In 1906 more than a fifth of the population of 5,000 was estimated to be at sea, and even as late as the 1950s the government annual report said that the main "export" was seamen whose remittances were the mainstay of the economy.
Since those days, the economy has grown in remarkable fashion, to be a model envied in other parts of the region. Over the last 30 years, governments have pursued policies aimed at developing the infrastructure, education, health and social services of the Islands, fostering the stability which is an important factor in the continued growth of Cayman's two main industries, financial services and tourism.
The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority ("the Authority") was established as a body corporate under The Monetary Authority Law ("the Law"), which was brought into force on the 1st of January, 1997. The former responsibilities, duties and activities of the Financial Services Supervision Department and the Cayman Islands Currency Board now fall to the Authority which was created from the merger of these two bodies.
The Insurance Law of 1979 (2008 Revision) and the Insurance (Amendment) Law, 2006, give the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority the responsibility of licensing and regulating the insurance industry in the Cayman Islands. Under this law, the following categories of insurance licences may be issued:
- Class A Insurer
- Class B Insurer - Restricted or Unrestricted
A Class A Insurer licence permits a local or an external insurer to carry on insurance business in or from the Islands (domestic business).
An Unrestricted Class B Insurer licence permits an exempted insurer to carry on non-domestic insurance business from within the Islands.
A Restricted Class B Insurer licence permits an exempted insurer only to accept non-domestic insurance business from its member or members or such persons as may be specifically approved by the Authority.
The minimum capital requirement for short-term general business is US$120,000; for long-term business (usually life business), the figure is US$240,000; for both short- and long-term business, the capital requirement is US$360,000. Additional capital may be required after review of the intended structure, taking into account the amount of premium to be written, the actuarial loss projections and any reinsurance placed that inures to the benefit of the company.
USA Risk Group (Cayman) Ltd was incorporated during the summer of 2005 and currently manages in excess of 50 captives. Our portfolio of clients is very diverse including large publicly traded companies and major healthcare systems, to smaller privately held entities. Over $400 million in annual premiums are written by the companies under our management with total assets of over $800 million.
Some advantages are:
- Professional, yet flexible regulation
- Accessible regulators
- Freedom of investment management
- Less onerous capital requirements
- Freedom from various state regulations
- Political and economic stability
- An established and flexible legal and regulatory system
- Effective crime legislation
- Possible tax benefits
- The absence of exchange controls, and the opportunity to transact business in any major currency
- Local availability of experienced insurance managers, lawyers, bankers and accountants
- Absence of income or other taxes in the domicile
- Access to the reinsurance markets either locally or in major insurance centers
- Good communications and frequent air service
When choosing a domicile for your captive it is important to take into account the reasons listed above.
The Cayman Islands, as the leading offshore financial center, can offer a variety of resources that are far beyond the scope of most other domiciles whether onshore or offshore and these are readily available to the captive owner from within the domicile.
The Cayman Islands offer a cost effective option with a straight-forward application process, accessible regulators that understand your business and extensive service provider resources readily available to provide the necessary expertise to ensure that everything is structured correctly with the long term success of the venture in mind.
For more information please contact:
USA Risk Group (Cayman) Ltd
P.O. Box 1085
5th Floor, Queensgate House
113 South Church Street
Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands KY1-1102
Toll Free: 877-483-1850 Ext. 2281