Wine Tasting Evening - Tuesday 20 June 2017

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It was a pleasant evening outside the Wine Library on Tuesday 20th June. It was an even more pleasant one inside, where members and their guests sampled six French wines carefully selected for them (with accompanying paté and cheese) at a tutored wine tasting.

The wines ranged from a white Picpoul de Pinet to a fine claret. They had all been carefully chosen as good value representatives of their type, usually from lesser-known appellations which could nevertheless well represent that class of wine. From members of the insurance market, close scrutiny and expert knowledge could be expected. Expectations were not disappointed! It seems safe to say, though, that everyone learnt something, and both mental and physical notes were taken for future use.

We are confident that all our members not only now know more about good French wine, but will also be able to source better value as well as good quality wines as a result of a most enjoyable and convivial evening.

AGM Dinner - 9 May 2017

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Following the AGM on 12 May, we held AirSP’s annual dinner. We were fortunate to have with us as our guest Adam Kembrooke, Group Chief Legal Officer and Group Chief Risk Officer of Nexus Underwriting. Adam spoke to us about the philosophy behind his group's understanding of managing agencies, with particular reference to the operation of the claims function as part of a profit-making enterprise.

Adam has a broad and interesting background, being a lawyer qualified in both New York and England, who has worked in-house as both a legal officer and a risk officer for some years. He had many useful insights into what companies like his want from their service providers and how those who provide services to such companies can provide best value to their clients and adapt to new paradigms as the market develops.

Willingness to think outside the box, partner with clients, cooperate in marketing, develop new services and operations together are just as important in the new world as the old-fashioned requirements of high quality service, flexibility, responsiveness and value for money. None of which is to say that any of them have been downgraded!

Adam’s talk gave rise to a vigorous discussion around the table with many comments, queries and suggestions. It was exactly the invigorating and interesting event we had all hoped for and we are most grateful to Adam coming along and giving us the benefit of his experience and forward-looking approach.

Bill Perry


International Women's Day - 8 March 2017

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SCOR’s premium income is nearly €14billion pa; its balance sheet stands at €43 billion; it has 2,700 or so staff and a staff ratio of 48% female/52% male. Karen Graves has been its COO in London since 2010. She has also been to AirSP before. So it was very apt, and we were very pleased, that she accepted our invitation to be our speaker at our meeting in March which, this year like last, celebrated International Women’s Day.

Karen talked with quiet fervour about how women can develop their careers in the London market, the problems to be overcome and strategies for leadership and management. She is convinced that the market is open to advancing women to the most senior positions. While no-one denies some difficulties, the market has changed out of recognition from its profile and attitudes of thirty years ago.

She believes that it is important to get away from stereotypes. The market wants talent, pure and simple, and by demonstrating their skills, hard work and commitment a level playing field can be found and used by women who want to reach the top. So her message to women is simple: onwards and upwards! And to men and women that this is inclusive: it is about good people, the market (and the world) has ample room for all people of talent and that diversity helps arrive at the best solutions to problems.

The important message to take away is that the London market is about people. People are different from each other, and the difference between male and female is just one of all sorts of differences; and we are better together. The important thing is that we work together, whoever and whatever we are, to build the organisations we work for and the market, for the best future for all. We need to build attitudes and structures that make the best use of all talent. Ever increasingly, we are doing. We must just never let up!

Avoiding Embarrassing Data Loss Presentation - 15 February 2017

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A group of around 15 members and guests listened attentively to Andrew Beckett and Will Scott-Gall from Kroll talking about data theft and data loss. Everyone attending probably became more and more reflective during the talk.

  • How often have I logged into a wifi network without a password or one where I still had the password from my last connection? Not good!
  • Did I check the credentials of the network I used?
  • How often did I leave my laptop in a hotel room?

Practical examples of our daily life when using phones and laptops made it clear that data stored on these gadgets can easily be accessed by people who are a bit more technically skilled than the average user.

Companies' Risk Management has improved and a quick check with the audience showed that all companies represented that evening have guidelines in place in case of an emergency (e.g fire). We have been drilled what to do and what steps will be taken following an incident, including who will communicate what to customers, authorities and the media. None of the companies represented had had any such incident in the recent past.

Most hands went up when asked whether there were recent threats regarding data security or actual attacks such as phishing, smishing, unsolicited emails etc. Would any of the companies have a plan in place to react to such real and potentially fatal incidents? Today, a company's Risk Management and Communication Programme should include IT and Cyber risks as well. Management needs to be prepared to react promptly and effectively to protect stakeholder values.

Res Bachofner

Blockchain presentation - 25 January 2017

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While most people have heard about Bitcoin, many do not appreciate that the 'block-chain' technology which underlies it has much wider applications. Its combination of security, decentralisation, reliability and adaptability make it suited to many‎ business uses. 'Smart contracts' where the technology automatically moves money (e.g. pays insurance claims) when externally ascertainable events occur are just one.

Berry Holding-Parsons is a solicitor who specialises in this field and works in the insurance sector. He explained to a full meeting room the underlying idea of block-chain a‎nd how it may be (and is already tentatively being) put to work in the insurance market, amongst others.

Helped by the presence of Gary Nuttall, a technical expert in this field, he provoked a vigorous discussion of the possibilities, snags, the current technology and how it and its applications may develop, especially in our market.‎ This continued well past the close of the meeting and into the bar afterwards!

Another first class and well attended meeting‎ showing the great value AirSP provides for members.

Events during 2017

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25 Jan Blockchain Berry Holding-Parsons
15 Feb Avoiding Embarrassing Data Loss Andrew Beckett & Will Scott-Gall - Kroll
8 Mar International Women's Day - Equipping Women for Leadership Karen Graves - COO, Scor
9 May AGM/Dinner

After-dinner speaker: Adam Kembrooke, Nexus

20 Jun Wine Tasting Evening
18 Jul Insurance Fraud Forensics Guillermo Lopez - Rimkus
9 Aug Members' Drinks
11 Sep Monte Carlo Dinner
17 Oct Opportunities/challenges of surveying, loss adjusting and risk management in Western Africa Simon Clark, Sun Logistics & Marine (UK) Ltd
14 Nov Charity Quiz Night

14 Dec Christmas Drinks Party

Christmas Roundup

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Once again, to the sound of carols and Hogmanay, we come to the end of a successful year for AirSP. Without mentioning every one of our meetings (that’s for my report at the AGM!) let us just remember for example our very popular International Women’s Day meeting, addressed by Elena Bredikhina, of Challenge Group, when we were visited by Inga Beale; our presentation by the FCA in June and Richard King’s excellent ‘Models Without Tears’ which packed out the Broker with members and guests in October.

On the ‘social side’, besides our perennial favourite dinner at the Quai Des Artistes on the Monday of the Rendezvous, again with lots of guests as well as members, our very popular charity Quiz Night in November raised a large sum for our chosen charity as well as being great fun; and our finale (Christmas AirSPitality at the Lloyds Club, free to members) was as usual full - and full of fun.

We look forward to an even better new year we are programming for you. Starting off with a talk on ‘Blockchain’, the coming security technology, on 25 January, moving on to a presentation by Andrew Beckett and Will Scott-Gall of Kroll on ‘Avoiding Embarrassing Data Losses’, a combination of ‘war stories’ and vital hints on how to keep your client’s (and your own) important data secure – from outsider thieves and insider leakers in February and so one, we are well planned and geared up to go. Many old favourite hospitality events will be back!

We need you all to come along to our events. As I have explained, these offer great interest, quality and variety. We have something good for everyone in our market. Please do make the effort to come. You will find it well worthwhile. And please bring guests (only £10 per head per talk) – and try to recruit new members for us. More members equals more income with which we can do more and better things! But most importantly it means more vibrant events.

We have gone a number of years without a subscription increase. We have made considerable economies, for example in our secretarial costs, to achieve that. As part of our programme to improve and move AirSP forward, we would now like, for example, to invest in updating our website, improving generally our issue of information to our members and so on.

The Board has therefore resolved upon an increase in the annual subscription, effective from 1 January 2017, to £175 for small businesses and £350 for large ones. This is still a very small amount, from which AirSP provides numerous ‘freebies’ such as the Christmas party, all our talks and so on. With it, we can move the group significantly onwards and upwards.

So we look forward to seeing you all for another, we hope even greater, year in 2017. In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, or Happy Holidays!

Bill Perry


AirSP raises £669 for Charity

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Crohn’s and Colitis UK is a national charity leading the battle against Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. We are fighting to achieve a better quality of life for the 300,000 people in the UK suffering physically and emotionally from these and other forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Ultimately, we want to find a cure.

For more than 35 years, we’ve been working with and for patients and their families, the nurses, doctors, and all those that work in healthcare that treat them, and the policymakers who can bring about change. We provide high quality information and support to enable people to manage their conditions. We believe people living with Crohn’s and Colitis should be able to live their lives to the fullest. We won’t stop fighting until we’ve won.

Without the fantastic generosity from organisations like AirSP we wouldn’t be able to provide these services to those that need them. Your enthusiastic support will ensure that our work continues. Thank you for a wonderful evening.

Joanna Pearce, Corporate Partnerships Manager

AirSP Charity Quiz Night - 8 November 2016

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In another packed Quiz Night, AirSP has again this year raised a large sum for its designated charity, Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

People from all across the market came together in the Habit, as last year, for fun and friendship while pitting their wits against each other and the quiz-master. Besides a raffle – first prize a paint-balling trip for ten, with many other prizes – participants answered questions ranging from Game of Thrones, through mortality in the Great Fire of London, to the Beatles, and almost everything in between!

Congratulations to the Allsorts, our winning team this year. We hope they enjoyed the prizes – a bottle of champagne and one of wine for each team member!


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The room at the Broker's Wine Bar looked almost packed when AirSp Member Richard King gave us an introduction to his modelling work. The intricacies of statistics came to life when he briefly explained the basic terms of bell curves, normal distributions, poisson curves, "fat tails" etc. It quickly became clear that Richard's insights into collecting data and how to analyse it were not merely theoretical. Practitioners should be careful when selecting data and presenting results for e.g. Lloyd's Realistic Disaster Scenarios or Solvency II calculations. From "garbage in to garbage out" and applying it with a pinch of salt, Richard made us again a bit more comfortable about discussing statistics and the impact of data modelling on our daily insurance business. Yes, the model might tell you that it happens once every 250 years but (a) this can happen today, and again tomorrow, and the model is still right and (b) your gut feeling might tell you something different. Listen to it.

Andreas Bachofner

Shires Partnership