SIRC becomes a virtual success

November 6 2020 by Andrew Tjaardstra

The Singapore International Reinsurance Conference (SIRC) has evolved rapidly over the last five years.

From being once every two years, sharing its seasonal slot with the East Asia Insurance Congress, it became annual, and now in its very latest format, the organisers made the bold decision to go virtual at short notice.

One clear benefit was not getting lost in the (rather gloomy) hallways of the Marina Bay Sands whilst late for a meeting on the other side of the conference hall.

However, it was a great shame not to be able to network, see innovations on the stands, and hobnob at the well planned and well stocked parties. We have learned the positives and negatives about living in a ‘digital world’ this year more than ever.

Luckily the production has been slick and the market has responded positively with over 1,600 delegates involved. It is increasingly becoming a “must attend” from across the world.

Nick Garrity, chief executive of IGI Labuan, told InsuranceAsia News: “The organisers did a great job providing a virtual platform which allowed us to establish new relationships with a number of cedents and reinsurance brokers who realise that as the market starts to harden in Asia they cannot always rely on their established relationships to give them the solutions they need.”

Garrity, unveiling an IGI APAC legal expenses policy, added: “As the coronavirus continues to unfold, access to justice has never been more important for SMEs. Legal disputes are becoming much more likely, and many SMEs may not have the cash or the expertise to protect their legal rights.”

Thought leadership
There has been some quality content this year and you will find links below to some of the panel discussions in this newsletter.

Denis Kessler, chief executive of Scor, spoke about how the reinsurance market had failed to model the pandemic properly. He said a pandemic had usually been thought of as a hit to the L&H market but instead it had had a far more significant impact (almost 90% of claims) on P&C players.

An intriguing idea to help better prepare for future pandemics came from Swiss Re’s group chief executive Christian Mumenthaler.

Speaking in an interview (conducted by Melissa Hayek) Mumenthaler said: “It’s very hard to act before a risk such as a pandemic. We can contribute to the risk mapping and share concerns, but governments need chief risk officers to realise these risks and communicate them to the public. It’s tremendously difficult to prevent or mitigate these risks but we should try, and examples include the UK’s Pool Re (for terrorism risk).”

An independent chief risk officer would surely be a huge benefit to any government. That person would grow an in-depth understanding of the tools and machinery in place to react quickly to any crisis. A risk management expert with great communication skills from a global blue chip with significant exposure to the (re)insurance market could be perfect.

One of the many problems associated with the poor US government response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was having a political appointee (Michael Brown) as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The next pandemic could be even worse than Covid-19, so governments have no time to lose – especially with no obvious comprehensive risk (re)insurance pool solution given the huge potential losses involved.

Other topics ranged from digitalisation, climate change, supply chain risk management and the launch of the Global-Asia Insurance Partnership.  We also interviewed Axis Re’s Asia president Les Loh, who talked about the need to increase pricing and for the reinsurance market to “stand up on its own” in Asia.

For a full collection of this year’s SIRC stories see here.

Next time
We hope everyone enjoyed the conference and the InsuranceAsia News team looks forward to seeing everyone at the 17th SIRC – which has been rescheduled and will now take place from November 15 to November 18 2021.

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