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NY Insurance Exchange backers seek differentiation

Regulators and industry officials trying to start the New York Insurance Exchange are looking at a raft of incentives to enhance its appeal, according to insiders. In addition to introducing a 0% federal corporate tax to lure insurers away from Bermuda, the backers are also looking at sweeteners that target Lloyd?s.

The Statue of Liberty in Bermuda, NY

For example, instead of employing Lloyd?s style waiters in red coats and funny hats, the NYIE will feature attractive young women in skimpy cheerleader style outfits to greet brokers and visitors.

But the NYIE also plans to impose a ?fun? dress code on executives wishing to transact business in the exchange.

A spokesman said that the aim was to make the NYIE a typically New York alternative to Lloyd?s or Bermuda. ?The problem with Lloyd?s is that it is too stuffy and grey. Bermuda, on the other hand, is sunny but boring,? the NYIE spokesman said.

?We noticed that Lloyd?s has its strict dress code of business suit and tie whereas Bermuda has those ridiculous shorts. That gave us the idea of a differentiating our dress code as well as our tax code,? the spokesman said.

Extending the concept of dress down Friday to cover every day of the week the dress code of the proposed NYIE will be based on Village People characters. Anyone entering the exchange to do business will have to dress either as a police officer, a native American chief, a cowboy, a biker, a construction worker or a military person.

?We think the combination of the cheerleaders greeting people on the steps and the Village People costumes will make NYIE the most popular place in the world to transact insurance business. We may not even need the tax break,? the spokesman said before being fired.

Reinsurance bosses in London said they were not feeling threatened by the move to form an insurance marketplace in the US, the biggest market for both domiciles. ?Look here old chap, London has been the world centre of insurance for over 3,000 years and that?s not going to change overnight,? said Sir Norbert ?Nobby? Johnson, CEO of Mocha Re. ?London will always be the number one domicile for Mocha Re and the industry as a whole.?

On other pages: chancellor raises UK corporation tax to 30% p37; Mocha Re moves to Dublin p42; Lloyd?s moves to Bermuda p23; Transport strike leaves City empty; FSA plans move to Luxembourg p59.

Other news from May 2010
Travelating the Wave of Insurability
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