Bermuda Premier highlights climate finance initiatives at COP28 in Dubai

Premier David Burt of Bermuda made a notable appearance at COP28 in Dubai, shedding light on Bermuda's role in climate finance and its commitment to tackling climate change.

In an exclusive interview with The Insurer TV, Premier Burt discussed the ongoing developments and objectives of Bermuda's climate initiatives.

COP28, hosted by the United Arab Emirates, has drawn significant attention due to its grand scale and international participation. Premier Burt described the event as "eagerly anticipated" and noted that multiple ministerial delegations, including representatives from overseas territories, were in attendance.

Bermuda's primary focus at COP28 has been to position itself as a leader in climate risk finance, mitigation, and broader climate finance efforts.

Premier Burt highlighted key moments from the summit, including his participation in an event led by the Commonwealth secretary-general and attended by His Majesty King Charles III. The event emphasised the insurance industry's role in climate solutions, with notable figures from Lloyd's, large insurance brokers and global leaders in attendance.

“They are very focused on matters related to how the insurance industry can participate and, of course, there was a great deal of participation from the industry,” he said.

Premier Burt underscored Bermuda's dedication to climate action in its implementation of ESG principles into the regulatory framework of all insurance companies operating in Bermuda. This commitment aligns with Bermuda's ambition to contribute to global climate finance initiatives.

“We had a chance to dialogue, both with the secretary-general and the King, around the solutions that Bermuda is trying to bring to bear in the market and the fact that we've already adjusted our regulatory framework, so that all companies that are insurance companies Bermuda have ESG governance built in to what it is that they're doing,” he added.

Centre for climate risk solutions

When asked about Bermuda's progress in becoming a centre for climate risk solutions over the past year, Premier Burt stressed the importance of raising awareness.

Bermuda's reputation as an insurance hub is well-established, and the premier discussed how the island is actively sharing its expertise in climate solutions, such as ESG bonds, green bonds, and blue bonds, with international partners.

“We're here to raise awareness,” said Premier Burt.

“Bermuda is a very small country, people know about the work we do for insurance. So, whether or not we're meeting with delegations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, or other places in the Gulf, they know Bermuda due to our insurance and reinsurance solutions. But it's also important for us to take that time to share the fact that there are climate solutions as well that we are trying to advance,” he added.

Addressing concerns raised by Lloyd's about global capacity for catastrophic insurance, Premier Burt acknowledged the challenges but expressed confidence in the availability of adequate capital. He highlighted the importance of regulatory adjustments in various jurisdictions to ensure the continued availability of reinsurance coverage.

Premier Burt provided insights into Bermuda's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Notable achievements include the electrification of 70 percent of the public bus fleet, with plans to reach 100 percent by 2025.

Bermuda is also working towards having a fully electrified private transport system. The premier said that such initiatives could serve as valuable test cases for scalable solutions in larger nations.

Insurers looking at blue bonds

Regarding the Blue Economy strategy, Premier Burt discussed the role of the reinsurance sector in promoting blue bonds and other climate-related financial instruments. He emphasised the importance of aligning insurers' assets with climate-focused investments.

“I know there are some insurers that are working on putting money into blue bonds, and making sure that those type of assets are structured in a way, so that insurance companies can invest in them, which, of course, is important that they have the adequate reserves,” he explained.

“So, from that aspect, when we talk about climate risk finance, it's about all the assets which our insurers have, but also the additional assets that we can bring to bear with our climate expertise, in order to direct things, such as for blue bonds, such as for ESG bonds, green bonds, etc. And that's the type of stuff which needs technical expertise which we have in Bermuda. We can make sure that we press these initiatives forward and bring them to reality,” he said.

Premier Burt mentioned that Bermuda is looking to launch its Blue Economy Fund and advance the marine spatial plan, crucial components of its climate goals. Additionally, the replacement of the Tynes Bay Waste-to-Energy Facility and the decarbonisation of private transport are key government priorities.

Watch the 11-minute interview with Premier David Burt to hear more about the role Bermuda is playing in climate risk finance and key messages at Cop28.