9th International Insurance Conference

Over 400 policymakers, regulators and insurers from around the world gathered in Zurich on 1 June 2017 for Insurance Europe’s 9th International Insurance Conference.

The theme of the conference was “Digitalisation today and tomorrow”, and it was moderated by Professor Karel Van Hulle of KU Leuven (conference programme).

The conference was opened by the mayor of Zurich, Corine Mauch (video), and the chairman of the Swiss Insurance Association, Urs Berger (video), who both outlined the important contribution that the insurance sector makes in Switzerland.

In his opening address, Sergio Balbinot, president of Insurance Europe and member of the board of management of Allianz, then set out the digitalisation-related issues facing insurers. He called for policymakers to ensure that customers enjoy the same level of protection whether they buy an insurance product from a start-up or a traditional insurer (video, speech, presentation).

The keynote conference speech was given by Anna Aebischer-Imfeld, chairwoman of digital signage company Westiform Holding, outlining the lessons that her family-owned SME had had to learn as it transformed itself for the digital age (video).

Then came the first panel of the day. Setting out differing visions of the future from the perspective of a 145-year-old global insurance group and a 2012 start-up were Gary Shaughnessy, CEO for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Zurich Insurance Group, and Guy Farley, co-founder of Bought By Many from the UK (video). 

The second panel of the day also made predictions for the future. Entitled “2030 and beyond”, it featured Maarten Edixhoven, CEO of Aegon Nederland; Governor Dirk Kempthorne, president of the Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA) and president & CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers and Eric Lombard, CEO of Generali France. The discussion ranged over diverse issues, including how insurance products can continue to help people to provide for themselves in increasingly long periods of retirement (video).

Next came four break-out sessions:

New technologies: the impact on consumers – The panel comprised:

  • Geeke Feiter, head of P&C retail at NN Group, the Netherlands
  • Martin Merlin, director, regulation & prudential supervision of financial institutions at the European Commission
  • Ursula Pachl, deputy director general of European consumer organisation BEUC
  • Moderator: Cécile Wendling, head of foresight at Axa Group, France

Connected and automated cars: the implications for insurers – Panellists were:

  • Laurianne Krid, director general of FIA, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile
  • Frank Schlehuber, director of aftermarket at the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA)
  • Monika Sebold-Bender, member of the board of management, responsible for property & casualty at Ergo, Germany
  • Moderator: Torbjörn Magnusson, vice-president of Insurance Europe and president & CEO of If P&C Insurance, Sweden

The challenges of insuring cyber risks – The panel comprised:

  • Elissa Doroff, underwriting and product manager for cyber and technology at XL Catlin, USA
  • Bernard Spitz, president of the French Insurance Federation
  • Stephen Wares, principal underwriter for cyber at MS Amlin, UK
  • Moderator: Leigh Ann Pusey, president & CEO of the American Insurance Association

Advances in insuring natural catastrophes (video) – Panellists were:

  • Martin Bertogg, head of catastrophe perils at Swiss Re
  • Ernst Rauch, head of the corporate climate centre at Munich Re
  • Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer of RMS, UK
  • Moderator: Dickie Whitaker, CEO of the UK’s Oasis Loss Modelling Framework

The moderators of these sessions provided an overview of the discussions to the conference plenary after the lunch break (video).

Then came keynote speeches on national regulation and European regulation by Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin (video), head of Switzerland’s Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, and Burkhard Balz MEP (video) respectively.

The day ended with a panel discussion of the regulatory challenges created by digitalisation between industry representatives Christian Mumenthaler, Group CEO of Swiss Re, and Mario Vela, CEO of GNP Seguros, Mexico, and regulators and supervisors Gabriel Bernardino, chairman of the European Insurance & Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA); Bob Ferguson, head of Project Innovate at the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority; and Ted Nickel, president of the US National Association of Insurance Commissioners (video).

Insurance Europe's 9th International Conference received extensive international press coverage and a huge amount of Twitter engagement through the conference hashtag #InsConf17. 

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