taken lightly. Michael Gibbs, president of Kensington Management
Group, started attending the Cayman Captive Forum back in the mid-
1990s when he first became involved in the industry.
“At that time, the conference was promoted by an external
conference organiser, with the insurance managers working closely
with them to provide the content for the conference,” he says.
“In the late 1990s and early 2000s IMAC was discussing how best
to run the conference, and in my second year as chairman, the
executive committee made the decision to take over the conference
and run it ourselves.
“I had the unenviable task of calling the conference organiser and
telling them that we were not going to be working with them again, so
that was a fun conversation as you can imagine!”
According to Gibbs, the IMAC executive committee knew from its
relationships with the various service providers on Cayman—the
banks and audit firms—that they were willing to support IMAC. At the
first revamped conference in 2003, Butterfield Bank was the welcome
night sponsor, KPMG was the lead sponsor and PriceWaterhouse
was the closing night sponsor—an arrangement that continues
Gibbs says that IMAC has had a great relationship over the past 14
or so years with its primary sponsors and it’s continued to grow from
there. He points out that for the sponsors, knowing that any profits
from the conference will go either to helping IMAC further promote the
domicile, or into its Educational Scholarship Trust Fund, meant it was
a win-win situation for the domicile and the scholarship foundation.
“It is one of the primary reasons we’ve maintained the level of
support and I think the ongoing success of the conference will
continue to fuel that,” says Gibbs. “In the early days, if we had 150
people in attendance, we thought we were doing really well. In 2003,
our first year of organising it ourselves, we had more than 250 and
the following year it was 400-plus.
“It’s gone up to the current levels of the last couple of years, around
1,500—a great success story.”
Through stormy times
MacKay says it was the 2004 conference that made the difference.
“What really made us in many ways was Hurricane Ivan, which
hit in 2004,” he points out. “Cayman was devastated, I had to
move my office off-island, because it was destroyed, as was my
“We decided to go ahead with the conference, and we had one of
the best turnouts we’d ever had, because people wanted to support
us. It was the first major event back in Cayman after Ivan and it was a
great turnout; from then we’ve gone from strength to strength.
34 cayman captive 2018
Now we’re the largest captive conference in the world, we’ve become
a marketplace for reinsurers, insurers, brokers—they all come.”
According to MacKay, the quality of the people who now come to
the event tends to be on the levels of the CEO/CFO and other senior
executives, which is exactly the level that the marketplace is trying to
reach. The forum has grown dramatically over the years in terms of
size and relevance. MacKay also notes that a significant portion of the
money IMAC makes from the forum goes back into the scholarship
fund. This fund was formed 23 years ago and since inception has
assisted 42 students with their secondary education.”
The growth of the conference has been reflected in the way that
the venues for it have changed. Paul Arbo, partner at BDO Cayman
Islands, has been attending the forum since 2005, shortly after
arriving in Cayman from Canada. That was the last year it was held at
The Westin, before it moved to the newly-opened Ritz Carlton hotel in
2006 which provided a much larger and more luxurious venue.
“I recently read a news article from 2006 which stated that attendance
for the forum that year jumped from 540 in 2005 to over 750 that year,”
“That compares with the more than 1,400 registrations the forum has
attracted in the past two years. As the numbers prove, the Cayman
Captive Forum has widely become known as the best of the captive
insurance-specific conferences on the globe.
“For me, personally, the week of the forum is a highlight on
the calendar, in terms of renewing and striking new professional
relationships as well as the bonding aspect of working with our fellow
service providers here in Cayman to put on a memorable week for
The issue of how to make the forum relevant and attractive to
prospective attendees is one that IMAC has to address every year.
MacKay says people come to the event for the education and
networking opportunities—they’re able to meet their peers there to
find out what they’re doing to improve or expand their operations, at
both captive and parent level.
“Healthcare remains our major liability line,” says MacKay. “We have
three tranches in that area, hospitals, physicians and home health/
nursing homes, and other related associated lines.
“There’s a lot of turmoil there, with healthcare reimbursements
down, and the healthcare landscape is changing. This is resulting in
a lot of mergers and acquisitions, not just in healthcare but also with
“Those mergers create challenges: what do you do with all the
legacy losses in other systems you take over? If they’ve got a captive