8th International Insurance Conference

Nearly 600 policymakers, regulators and insurers from around the world gathered in Dublin on 25 May 2016 for Insurance Europe’s 8th International Insurance Conference (programme).

The theme of the conference was "serving our customer in tomorrow’s world" and it was moderated by Professor Karel Van Hulle of KU Leuven. Topics of discussion included:

  • The regulatory impact on customers
  • Global & European stability
  • The global economic shift & growth markets
  • Technological advances

Opening the conference, the Taoiseach [Irish prime minister], Enda Kenny, spoke about the valuable contribution made by the insurance sector to Ireland’s economic recovery following the financial crisis (video).

Insurance Europe’s president, Sergio Balbinot, then discussed the need for policymakers to ensure that regulation responds to the real needs of consumers and avoids putting unnecessary burdens on the European insurance industry (speech and video).

Professor Philip Lane, governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, then talked about European insurance regulation. He outlined the importance of supervisory convergence in Europe, which he believed was crucial given the high volume of cross-border insurance that currently takes place (video).

Next came a video address from Jonathan Hill, EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. Lord Hill highlighted a range of issues, including the need for insurers to have a period of regulatory certainty, after the immense changes they have faced in recent years.

The day’s first panel discussion looked at “the regulatory impact on consumers”. The panel consisted of Gabriel Bernardino, chairman of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority; Rowan Douglas, CEO of capital, science and policy at Willis Towers Watson; Paul Mahon, president and CEO at Great-West Lifeco Inc, and Mike McGavick, CEO of XL Group and chair of the Geneva Association.

Delegates then heard from Burkhard Balz MEP, who outlined the important part Europe’s insurers have to play in the European Commission’s Capital Markets Union initiative and the need to safeguard the industry’s ability to provide long-term savings and pension products.

Next came four parallel sessions. Session A looked at the “global economic shift and growth markets”, with Professor Karel Van Hulle moderating. The panel comprised Andrea Keenan, senior managing director at A.M. Best (presentation); David McMillan, CEO of Aviva Europe; and Craig Thorburn, lead insurance specialist at the World Bank.

Session B examined “technological advances and distribution channels of tomorrow”, with Torbjörn Magnusson, vice-president of Insurance Europe, moderating (presentation). Speakers were Valter Trevisani, group chief insurance officer at Generali (presentation and video), and Cécile Wendling, head of foresight at Axa (presentation and video).

Session C discussed “our customer in tomorrow's world”, with Irish broadcaster and author Matt Cooper moderating. The panel was Tom McIlduff, CEO of Liberty Insurance; Xavier Larnaudie-Eiffel, deputy CEO of CNP Assurances; and Bernard Sheridan, director at the Central Bank of Ireland.

Session D looked at “global and European stability; policy & regulatory implications”. The session was moderated by Governor Dirk Kempthorne, president of the Global Federation of Insurance Associations. The governor was joined by panellists Steve Ryan, deputy head of the European Commission’s insurance and pensions unit and Julie Mix McPeak vice-president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

After lunch, Professor Peter Maas from the University of St Gallen in Switzerland took to the stage to discuss his recent consumer study (presentation). He revealed that over half of respondents to the study did not want financial companies to be subject to further regulation, especially if it increased costs for consumers.

The morning’s parallel sessions were then reviewed and discussed by their respective moderators.

The final panel session of the day looked at “customers of the future”. The panel consisted of Mario Vela, chair of the Association of Mexican Insurance Companies; Julie Mix McPeak of the NAIC; Gordon Watson, regional chief executive at AIA Group; Ida Luka-Lognoné, CEO of international health at Allianz; and Yoshihiro Kawai, secretary general of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors.

Insurance Europe's 8th International Conference received extensive international press coverage and a huge amount of Twitter engagement, with over 800 tweets to #InsConf16

The video registrations of the conference debates are available on Insurance Europe's YouTube channel.