The Intelligent Quarterly from the publishers of The Insurance Insider

Winter 2017

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The Insurance Insider Monte Carlo Roundtable 2017

I love the Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous!

Look at the roundtable attendee list and you will see a roll call of the great and the good in the global reinsurance sector. In many ways The Insurance Insider Roundtable has become the definitive event of the gathering.

In previous years, the discussions that have taken place around this table, tucked away in the bowels of the Fairmont Hotel, have set the tone for the whole meeting, and even on occasion changed industry practice.

It's always a lively affair. In 2010 a certain Mr Ajit Jain gave us a rare-as-hens'-teeth audience and we had an interesting debate about the validity of low-tax offshore domiciles. Of course, there was no mention of the facilitisation of the market back then.

Meanwhile in 2011 a near legendary set-to between a prominent Lloyd's CEO and a senior broker changed the way reinsurance intermediaries have subsequently communicated their future price expectations at the Rendez-Vous.

In 2012 the room was gripped by real fear as the Eurozone crisis threatened to claim one of the PIIGS' scalps. This was the first time since 2008 that I'd seen a room full of CEOs talk for quite so long and in such detail about the dangers inherent in the world economy and the possibility of these spilling over into the global (re)insurance sector.

Optimism returned in 2013 as we saw global growth recover and we allowed ourselves to dream of a return to real interest rates for the first time in five years.

But by 2014 we were getting the collective hump that central bankers were still taking their sweet time getting monetary policy back to normal, and that one of the main consequences of this was too much yield-seeking capital lowering prices. Still, loss trends were benign and we were continuing to make plenty of cash.

2015 was still benign and surreally tranquil, as was 2016, where tech disruption seemed to be the only major worry (other than the still unmentionably perma-soft market that no one could bring themselves to discuss in depth).

What a change in 2017 - we'd been whacked by a Mexican quake and Harvey and a Floridian storm called Irma had only landed on the Gulf Coast less than 48 hours before we sat down.

I started with the simple question - will Harvey and Irma change the market?

Answering that one took most of our allotted time.

Top players and poker faces. Bluff and double bluff. Brave demeanours, private fears. It's all here - on the lines and screaming out in between them.

Yes, I still love the Rendez-Vous - in fact after this year my love affair has been fully rekindled.

To view The Insurance Insider Monte Carlo Roundtable 2017 please click here.

Mark Geoghegan
Managing Director,
Insider Publishing

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