Insurance EuropeInsurance Europe
4th International Insurance Conference

Insurance Europe’s annual conference has become an established part of the insurance calendar. This was demonstrated by the number of delegates and the calibre of speakers at its 4th International Conference on 1 June 2012.

Around 400 policymakers, regulators and insurers gathered in Amsterdam for the conference, entitled “Global market, global risks”. Opened by HRH Princess Máxima of the Netherlands (now HM Queen Máxima), the event featured a keynote speech by Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services.

Welcoming delegates, Sergio Balbinot, president of Insurance Europe, talked about the difficult environment for insurers, noting the challenges in developed economies battling recession and financial instability and highlighting that 2011 was the most expensive natural disaster year ever recorded. “In spite of this difficult environment, the insurance industry has remained stable and secure,” he stressed. He also emphasised that not only challenges, but also opportunities lay ahead for insurers.

That in many cases the challenges the insurance industry faces can be turned into opportunities was demonstrated by HRH Princess Máxima in her address. She highlighted that improving access to financial products in developing countries and increasing the financial literacy of consumers in developed countries are both challenges and opportunities. She pointed to the 2.5bn people around the world who are without access to financial services and emphasised the role insurance can play in building stable, inclusive financial systems.

Stable financial systems were also the focus of Commissioner Barnier’s keynote speech. He stressed that insurers are natural long-term investors, playing a counter-cyclical and stabilising role in financial markets that is important for getting Europe back on track for sustainable growth. “Insurers and reinsurers are guardians of stability and continuity in the financial markets. In the current context, they are more important than ever,” said Barnier.

The conference panels discussed problems and opportunities for insurers, covering everything from global regulation and retirement provision for ageing populations to sustainable responses to climate change. Audience votes provided a good snapshot of the industry’s views. When asked about the biggest challenges, the difficult investment environment and coping with regulation were uppermost in delegates’ minds.

Published 1 June 2012
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Amélie Chantrenne
Amélie Chantrenne
Event coordinator