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Insurance Europe Conference 2017

Insurance Europe Conference 2017

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.

Insurance Europe Conference 2017

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.

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.

9th International Insurance Conference, 1 June 2017, Zurich, Switzerland

You can sign up for our mailing list for the 9th International Insurance Conference on 1 June 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland by emailing [email protected] . Please follow @InsuranceEurope on Twitter for the latest on #InsConf17.

If you are interested in sponsoring next year’s conference, please contact Richard Mackillican on +32 2 894 30 69.

Insurance Europe Annual Report

Insurance Europe’s 2015–2016 Annual Report was published the day before Insurance Europe’s 8th International Conference. It contains articles setting out Insurance Europe’s positions on all the major regulatory issues facing EU insurers.

In a departure from previous years, the report also includes opinion pieces by external authors on current insurance topics. Bart De Smet, CEO of Belgian insurance group Ageas, writes about life under Solvency II. European consumer champion Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC, sets out her priorities for the protection of financial services customers. And Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change —the driving force behind the COP 21 Paris Agreement — recognises the insurance industry’s contribution to tackling climate change.

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