On August 16, 2023

Vermont named No. 1 captive insurance domicile worldwide


Two captive insurance media publications are now naming Vermont the top captive insurance domicile in the world. In their “Q1 Captive Formation Round-Up” article published June 13 in Captive Review used the most recent data to confirm Vermont’s No. 1 status. Another captive media publication, Captive Intelligence, confirmed that data in their captive insurance data platform, which has been updated to reflect the current standings.

The main data point utilized in determining domicile ranking is the number of active captives licensed in a domicile. The data shows that Vermont has been steadily growing at a faster pace than its top competitors, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, in recent years and has now surpassed these top competitors based on the current number of captive insurance companies that are active in the domicile with Vermont at 639, Bermuda at 633, and the Cayman Islands at 559 captives at the end of 2022.

Captive insurance is a regulated form of self-insurance that has existed since the 1960s and has been a part of the Vermont insurance industry since 1981, when Vermont passed the Special Insurer Act. Captive insurance companies are formed by companies or groups of companies as a form of alternative insurance to better manage their own risk. Captives are commonly used for corporate lines of insurance such as property, general liability, products liability, or professional liability.

Vermont’s leadership in this field has been a longtime coming. Since 1981, the state has focused on creating laws to take advantage of this then little-known insurance program. Early on, Vermont began to dominated the domestic industry, but the state’s offshore competitors had a big head start.

“We’re excited to now be considered the top captive insurance domicile in the world. This status is testament to the work of Vermont’s expert regulators and strong network of highly skilled service providers, who have been committed to supporting captive insurance companies for over 40 years,” said Governor Phil Scott.

Vermont’s growth has been on the rise in recent years and the start of this year is no exception. Vermont had licensed 12 new captives at the end of March 2023, compared to 4 in Bermuda and 8 in the Cayman Islands, according to the Captive Review. 

On May 12, 2023, Vermont surpassed 1,300 captive insurance companies licensed to date since captive enabling legislation in 1981, a much faster pace than the 1,200 and 1,100 licensed milestones. In the first half of 2023 Vermont has licensed 22 new captives, making Vermont’s total number of current licenses 654.

The last three years have been amongst Vermont’s top 10 years of growth in its 41-year history of licensing captive insurance companies. Recently released Vermont data for 2022 shows $212 billion in total assets under management and $42 billion in gross written premium, significant increases from the prior year and further data which likely supports Vermont’s new standing.

Vermont expanded its international efforts and has received global recognition in recent years. In 2016 Vermont won the Non-European Union Domicile of the Year Award by the Captive Review and won International Domicile of the Year by the same publication in 2020 and 2022. In March of 2023, Vermont sent a delegation to Mexico City to conduct an educational forum with the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) to raise awareness about captive insurance, the first of its kind in the Latin American region.

“The growth of the industry makes a tremendous impact on a variety of companies and organizations in all sectors from all over the world, but also impacts our small state in a significant way, ensuring the presence of hundreds of good jobs for Vermonters and revenue that contributes directly to programs that impact Vermont’s most vulnerable populations,” said Commissioner Joan Goldstein, Vermont Department of Economic Dev.

Vermont remains committed to supporting captive insurance companies in a variety of unique ways, according to the Dept. of Economic Development. Vermont ensures adequate regulatory staffing, with a team of over 30 regulators and in-house examiners dedicated solely to captive insurance companies, with little turnover in leadership throughout its history. Vermont staff also serve on a variety of captive insurance committees and regulatory bodies, lifting up the captive industry and helping to drive the importance of quality regulation.

“Our status as the leading captive insurance domicile is a direct result of the expertise within our robust regulatory framework and the intentional culture within our department to continuously evolve, consider ways we could be better, and work with the industry along the way,” said Commissioner Kevin Gaffney, Vermont Dept. of Financial Regulation.

A yearly proactive collaborative “captive bill” is put forward by the VCIA with input from the industry and regulators alike. Given the creation of hundreds of direct, high paying jobs for Vermonters and the significant tax and fee revenue collected from the program, Vermont legislators recognize the importance of adapting to the changing needs of the industry in real time and clarifying statutes no matter how small the change.

“It’s no surprise that Vermont has taken the lead in the industry,” said Kevin Mead, president of VCIA. “The ‘Gold Standard’ infrastructure here of regulators and service providers have provided stable, quality wrap around support for captive insurance companies for decades and will continue to do so for decades to come.”

The VCIA is hosted its annual conference Aug. 7-10 at the DoubleTree in South Burlington.  Over 1,040 attendees from around the world attended to learn about the latest emerging risks and trends, networking opportunities, and meet with 70 exhibitors. Vermont leaders and regulators were also on hand to meet with prospective and current captive insurance companies and answer questions.

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