Sensational Summer meeting 2017

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 08:37
by Tony Cabot

Sensational summer meeting in Zurich. The Europe Chapter of the CPCU Society has done it again. For those of you who missed it all we can say is: wish you were there.

We kicked off with the traditional Friday Casual Dinner. This time it was pizza, pasta and plenty of great company in downtown Glattburg, a small town just outside of the city of Zurich. Some of the early arrivers had a chance to visit Zurich before the get together. It was a great way to meet and welcome Troy Baldwin, incoming President of the CPCU Society, to our Chapter.

Before recapping the meeting we must thank Dan Hess and the AAA Insurance staff for the extra-ordinary job of organizing and hosting the group. The Saturday meeting and conference was held in the offices of Dan’s AAA Insurance Ag in Glattburg. The friendly morning coffee and the fantastic bar-b-que lunch really made the meeting and conference special. A big thank you to the cook who also happens to be AAA Insurance’s CFO.

We kicked of the meeting with a round-the-table introduction. With over 20 attendees representing 8 countries and a myriad of disciplines we had a truly diverse group. CPCU members from almost every year since 1989 and two candidate members. Representation from underwriting, claims, alternative risk management, broking, reinsurance, agency, legal, HR, finance and risk consulting gave real broad exchange of views during the meeting.

Vincent Bonny, Europe Chapter President-elect, kicked of the first of three educational segments with his presentation “Too much hype around the concept of InsurTech”. This hour was dedicated to looking behind the curtains of the impacts, both real and perceived, that technology is having on the insurance industry. Among the many take aways was some deep insight on how best to define InsurTech, what is the value of the “data lake” and a number of emerging liability issues related to data protection, data ownership and data management.

Vincent will address “Beyond Tech” and how to evaluate the technology cost/benefit equation for customers, intermediaries, insurers and reinsurers at the next Chapter meeting in London in February 2018.

We would love to hear your ideas for future Tech Hour presentations. Please submit your suggestions directly to Vincent so that they can be developed and perhaps presented as a mid-year webinar or virtual meeting subject.

Vincent’s presentation and discussion was followed by Pierre Fonteyne, a founding member and Chapter Treasurer, who presented the “Ethics in action” segment. This is a regular part of all of our Chapter meetings and has always been an important moment of reflection and debate. Pierre addressed the issue of product liability and product contamination coverage and the ethical responsibilities of the underwriter and intermediary when becoming aware of circumstances or conditions putting a client’s product reliability in doubt. What would you do?

With Troy Baldwin on hand we were fortunate to receive a firsthand update on the events and developments at the Institutes and at the CPCU Society.

  • Troy advised the Chapter of the Society’s need to hire a new CEO following Kevin Brown’s resignation. The search is underway and we hope to have a new Society CEO on board in the near future. In the interim Everett Randle is covering the role.
  • Annual meeting preparations are well underway and the Society is expecting over 2,000 attendees to the Annual Meeting and Conference in Orlando, Florida. Mark your calendar and please try to attend this unique and invigorating event.
  • The Society continues to strengthen it capability to deliver relevant knowledge, empowerment of CPCU professionals and support for Chapters and Interests Group. Always an “uphill” challenge given the nature of the insurance business, the evolving role of the employer support, the battle for time and engagement. The CPCU Society has made great strides to enhance the quality and quantity of professional education offerings tied directly to the Continuing Education (CE) requirement for all CPCU’s. The development of the Knowledge Center as a resource for professional education is second to none in the insurance sector. The Mentor program is also showing promise with over 170 mentors and 110 mentees coming together on the program platform. There have been 35 beneficial matches in just a few months.
  • The Institutes and the CPCU Society are enhancing their capabilities to communicate and provide value to members and candidate members across all channels including social media. Help to build your personal brand while furthering the brand of the CPCU Society is a win-win situation for all current and future members of the Society. From traditional snail mail, email and webinars to WhatsApp, Snapchat and whatever else lies beyond the Society seeks to be a conversation and knowledge sharing “friend” meeting its members and partners at all intersections of communication. Using modern tools to personalize these interactions to suit the needs of each individual, chapter our interest group. A big ask but one that Troy is committed to. Please do all you can to support Troy in this endeavor.

Our second educational segment, sponsored by AAA Insurance, was an hour with the Head of Blackrock Switzerland. Blackrock is the world’s largest asset manager and a relevant observer of the global economy. Dr. Christian Gast took us through the world of iShares, index investing and some of the correlations with the insurance sector. A truly global asset management operation Blackrock provides investment expertise to most of the world’s major insurers and reinsurers. Blackrock delivers the capability to analyze over 30,000 investment portfolios per minute to its clients. The capability to crunch the numbers and understand the data at that pace is something the insurance sector is immensely interested in…important lessons to be learned.

Dr. Gast was followed by Clive O’Connell’s presentation on Europe after Brexit and French, Austrian and Dutch elections or “everything you wanted to know about the impacts of Europe’s political upheaval on the insurance industry but were afraid to ask”.

Clive, a longtime friend, honorary Chapter member and legal expert working in the heart of the London insurance market, provided a lively and somewhat sobering presentation of these political implications on the insurance sector with a particular focus on the EU and the US. While there seems to be a halt of the march towards populism with the outcomes of the recent elections within the EU it is clear that a new economic order is forming. A France/Germany combined outward looking leadership role may be the strongest sign that global leadership roles have changed. The ongoing Brexit negotiations will leave a number of insurers with big questions regarding their organizational structures and costs. The sector must deal with these issues within the largest context of very complex negotiations touching almost every aspect of the daily life of the citizens of the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The three educational sessions really gave the group food for thought and some insight which will allow us to perform our jobs at a higher level.

We closed the day with our regular business meeting. The Chapter is moving forward with a sponsored event in London on Friday morning, February 16, 2018. The short list of subjects for this market event is as follows:

  1. The Intermediary of the future
  2. InsurTech, an unusual equation: P2P + B2B2C + B2C + B2B, what does it equal?
  3. Emerging risks, e.g., pandemics, changes in global markets, parametric solutions, robots, etc.

We will soon be sending a survey on the subject matter and asking you to vote on what you think would be most interesting subject matter. Once this is decided we will identify an appropriate keynote speaker.

Vincent Bonny will lead the effort and is looking for volunteers to fill the London Meeting task force. So far he has Birgit Vosper and Tony Cabot signed up to help. We will need three more members in order to make this an effective team. Please write to Vincent at if you are able to assist in any way.

Stephan Geiger was the winner of this meeting’s Europe Chapter Raffle. Stefan will receive € 750 towards his attendance to a future Europe Chapter meeting, Congratulations Stephan.

Mark your calendars now for the next physical meeting of the Europe Chapter of the CPCU Society. February 16 and 17, 2018 in London.

Check the documents section of the Europe Chapter’s webpage in the CPCU Society website for the Zurich 2017 presentations. Also look for upcoming communications from Vincent and me regarding webinars, virtual chapter meetings and some social media updates.

We closed the meeting and moved on to a sponsored cocktail hour before moving on to the Europe Chapter sponsored dinner at a wonderful restaurant in the nearby Swiss countryside. Fine food, discussion and friendship were shared by all.

Don’t forget to submit your meeting attendance information for CE credit. You can use this write up as your supporting documentation.

Thank you all for your support. We are at your service.

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