International law firm Walkers launched its Insurance Linked Securities (ILS) group, bringing together lawyers within the firm that have expertise in alternative risk transfer arrangements such as catastrophe bonds, reinsurance sidecars and securitization vehicles.

Walkers’ ILS Group comprises a group of multi-jurisdictional lawyers based in the firm’s Cayman Islands and Dublin offices. The group advises clients on the legal and practical aspects of trading, financing and securitizing risk involving Cayman Islands and Irish entities such as cash and synthetic catastrophe bonds, captive insurers, sidecars and life settlement deals.

Additionally, the firm appointed Derek Stenson, who joins the firm’s Cayman Islands office as an associate in the ILS group.

Stenson specializes in capital markets offerings with a focus on ILS securitizations. Before Walkers, he worked with a major law firm in Dublin, advising on the establishment and ongoing regulation of catastrophe bonds and mortality bonds, as well as life settlement structures and other bespoke structured transactions.

Walkers’ ILS Group also includes Dublin-based partner Anthony Smyth, who specializes in tax, and a number of other specialist attorneys from Dublin and the Cayman Islands.

“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,” Smyth said.

Walkers’ ILS Group can also assist clients with the licensing aspects of risk transfer transactions, with support from the firm’s regulatory team, who have close working relationships with the Insurance Supervision Division of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and the Central Bank of Ireland.

“As the highly specialized 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, partner in Walkers’ Dublin office. “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, a partner with Walkers who is based in the firm’s 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.”

 

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