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Archived stories from 2013

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New Pope to promote Vatican as reinsurance hub

Pope Francis has celebrated his inaugural mass in the Vatican, and has assumed the responsibility of leading the world's Catholics. But Vatican insiders have revealed to RISKbitz that the new pontiff is also planning to transform the city state into a reinsurance and captive hub for Europe.

The Vatican - the new Bermuda?

After Pope Francis' solemn inauguration mass, attended by six reigning monarchs, 31 heads of state and representatives of 132 governments, he will become head of state of the world's smallest sovereign enclave, Vatican City, as well as spiritual leader of an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics scattered over every continent. He will also start building a tax friendly risk services centre in Rome to rival the city of London, Bermuda and Zurich, according to papal insiders.

The duties of the 266th successor to the throne of Saint Peter are already wide-ranging. But in addition to his regular Vatican appointments which include a weekly blessing for tourists and pilgrims every Sunday from the window of his private study overlooking Saint Peter's Square and a weekly general audience for some 5,000 pilgrims, Pope Francis intends to draft a regulatory framework that will lure corporate captive insurance companies from established centres like London and Bermuda.

Past popes have celebrated Mass every morning in their private chapel before settling down at their desk to deal with correspondence. Pope Francis, it is believed, has already started calling the heads of the world's biggest reinsurers in Bermuda and Europe to talk about redomestication to Rome. Every Pope has a small personal staff of nuns to run his household, to cook and clean, and a personal valet or butler. Pope Francis has also hired a team of management consultants, it is rumoured, to advise him on Solvency II equivalence and sticking points with EIOPA.

Pope-watchers say it is unlikely that the Argentinian born Francis will confine himself to the micro-state and will instead fill his diary with speaking engagements at industry seminars around the world including Airmic to promote the Vatican as a captive hub. In an early homily, Pope Francis said he will dedicate himself to "the poorest, the weakest, the least important", which many have taken to mean corporate risk managers in the UK.

Pope Francis has already confided in associates that he will not be able to us his connection with Latin America to speed up the opening up the reinsurance markets in Argentina and Brazil. Nor will he be able to call on God to think again about impending natural disaster events or reviving interest rates. As a conservative he is reported to be against the use of modern techniques such as ILS saying, "If God had meant the catXL market to be financed by the capital markets he wouldn't have given us retrocessional reinsurance, fer chrissakes."

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