What is Captive Insurance

A Comprehensive Overview
Captives 101

Captive insurance has gained significant traction in the insurance landscape over the last few years. So what is captive insurance? Captive insurance is a form of self-insurance where a company forms its own insurance entity to cover its risks, and has gained significant traction in the insurance landscape.

In this article, you will learn what is captive insurance as well as the five distinct types of captive insurance structures: single-parent captives, group captives, rent-a-captives, protected cell captives, and association captives, elucidating their characteristics, benefits, and applications.



What is Captive Insurance and Why is it Important?

Captive insurance is a form of self-insurance where a company forms its own insurance entity to cover its risks, and has gained significant traction in the insurance landscape. This alternative risk management strategy allows businesses to retain more control over their insurance costs, tailor coverage to their specific needs, and potentially achieve cost savings. Within the realm of captive insurance, various types exist, each catering to different organizational structures, risk appetites, and regulatory environments.

Also read: Cost of Setting Up a Captive Insurance Company in Bermuda

The Five Types of Captive Insurance Structures

Single-Parent Captives

Single-parent captives, also known as pure captives, are established by a single entity to cover the risks of its parent company and affiliated entities. These captives operate exclusively for the benefit of their parent company, providing customized coverage tailored to its unique risk profile. Single-parent captives offer numerous advantages, including greater control over risk management, potential tax benefits, and the ability to retain underwriting and investment profits. By forming a captive, a parent company can gain insights into its risk exposures, access reinsurance markets more efficiently, and stabilize insurance costs over time.

Group Captives

Group captives, as the name suggests, are formed by multiple unrelated organizations that share similar risk exposures. These captives enable smaller companies to pool their resources and collectively finance their insurance needs. Group captives offer participants several advantages, such as increased purchasing power, risk diversification, and access to sophisticated risk management expertise. By joining forces with other companies, participants can spread their risks across a broader base, potentially reducing volatility and lowering insurance costs. Group captives also foster collaboration among participants, encouraging the exchange of best practices and risk mitigation strategies.


Rent-a-captives, also known as sponsored captives, provide a cost-effective alternative for companies seeking to establish their own captive insurance entity without bearing the full administrative and regulatory burden. In a rent-a-captive arrangement, a sponsoring entity operates the captive on behalf of the insureds, offering them access to the captive’s infrastructure, regulatory compliance, and risk management services. Rent-a-captives enable companies to benefit from the advantages of captive insurance while minimizing upfront capital requirements and administrative complexities. By leveraging a shared platform, insureds can achieve economies of scale and focus on their core business activities.

Protected Cell Captives

Protected cell captives, or segregated portfolio captives, offer a unique structure that allows multiple insureds to share a single captive while maintaining legal separation between their assets and liabilities. Each insured is allocated a separate “cell” within the captive, effectively ring-fencing their risks from those of other participants. Protected cell captives provide participants with greater flexibility, allowing them to customize their insurance programs and investment strategies according to their specific needs. Additionally, this structure offers enhanced asset protection and regulatory efficiency, as each cell’s assets and liabilities are distinct from those of the overall captive.

Association Captives

Association captives are formed by trade associations or industry groups to provide insurance coverage for their members. These captives leverage the collective expertise and risk profile of their member organizations to negotiate favourable terms with insurers and reinsurers. Association captives offer members access to specialized insurance programs, risk management resources, and networking opportunities within their respective industries. By pooling their resources and sharing risk management insights, association captives enable members to achieve cost savings, improve coverage options, and enhance their overall risk management capabilities.

Also read: Setting up a Captive Insurance Company in Bermuda



Conclusion: What is Captive Insurance

Now that you know what is captive insurance you know captive insurance represents a versatile risk management tool that offers companies greater control, flexibility, and cost efficiency in managing their insurance needs. By understanding the various types of captive insurance structures available, organizations can select the most suitable option based on their risk profile, operational requirements, and strategic objectives.

Whether through single-parent captives, group captives, rent-a-captives, protected cell captives, or association captives, businesses can effectively mitigate risks, optimize insurance coverage, and drive long-term value creation. As the insurance landscape continues to evolve, captive insurance is poised to play an increasingly integral role in helping companies navigate uncertainties and seize opportunities in a dynamic business environment.

Set Up Your Own Captive Insurance Company

IML is well-positioned to assist you in making an informed decision about whether Bermuda is the ideal location for your Captive. Additionally, IML’s captive insurance design and formation services will guide you through the captive set-up process.

In addition, our insurance management services are pivotal in assisting captive insurance companies manage the captive business and fulfill economic substance requirements. We offer comprehensive support to ensure your robust presence in Bermuda, effective management of your captive’s risks, and adherence to all relevant regulations. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].