My First Hurricane
This time last week, Rein4ce’s CEO Mairi Mallon and I walked down Front Street in Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda, following Hurricane Humberto and surveyed the damage of the most powerful storm to hit the Island since Hurricane Gonzalo in 2014.
With a cluster of Bermuda clients on Rein4ce’s books, it was only a matter of time before I found myself on the Island during a hurricane. Humberto was my first ever experience of a hurricane, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect to end up having a ‘hurricane party’ in one of the island’s hotels, drinking wine and playing Jenga in the basement ballroom of the Hamilton Princess with other evacuees as the storm raged outside.
The next day, as Mairi and I wandered around Hamilton, it was obvious to see the damage that the 120 MPH winds had caused. Mini tornadoes ripped out palm trees, power lines were wrecked, boats had sank with just the mast’s emerging from the water, and bolted-down furniture turned upside down and completely displaced.
The hurricane reportedly left 80% of the island without power, according to CNN. Yet, a mere 12 hours after Humberto raged over the island, Bermuda was back open for business, including the airport, hotels and restaurants.
Bermuda rarely sees storms as powerful as Humberto – and since then, the Island has been battered by Tropical Storm Jerry, luckily with less serious damage. I was staggered at how quickly the Island got back on its feet – trees were sliced and diced by chainsaws, detritus was cleared away and calm was quickly restored.
The remarkable resilience of Bermuda reminds us why it is not only a top-class business hub, but also why it is the reinsurance capital of the world. Just as the island’s reinsurance industry responds swiftly and efficiently to natural catastrophes around the globe, so too does Bermuda when hurricanes strike at home. Bermuda has a history of responding quickly and efficiently to disasters – helping companies and communities get back on their feet after huge disasters is what the island does, and it is also the raison d’être of the insurance and reinsurance community.
I’ll never forget my first hurricane, but for Bermuda, it was just another episode in history that will continue to define Bermuda’s role in the world for years to come.