MENA PRESENTATION - FEBRUARY 2016

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The Board of AirSP were pleased to welcome Charles Catt, a member of the association to deliver a fascinating insight into the growth and potential of the insurance market (both Sharia compliant and traditional insurance and reinsurance products) in the North African and Middle Eastern region.

Elaine Mason, an AirSP Board Member, of Belvedere Mead (www.belvederemead.com) makes the following comments:

Charles presented a very interesting talk which, for those present, gave a very good introduction to the insurance world in the Middle East and North Africa region. The following comments highlight some of the areas Charles discussed that I found most interesting.

Defining which countries are included in a MENA region is a matter of debate with different commentators including certain countries whilst others excluding them makes managing the opportunities interesting. Sharia law which can change from area to area as it is dependant on the local Islam clerics ruling on what is or what is not compliant is another factor that can make companies who are looking to expand nervous. London has so far not yet fully targeted the market, whilst the European insurers are leading the way. A member of the audience felt this may be because of old colonial ties - eg Morocco and France.

Demand and need for insurance also varies considerably across the different countries and is very much linked to whether the economy in the country is oil based or not. Whilst populations on MENA and the US are similar, the spend on insurance products in MENA is a small proportion of that spent in the US. The populations of the richer countries within MENA simply see no need to purchase, as the ruling government/family wealth will cover any problems, although in certain areas as individual wealth grows this may change.

There are about 500 insurance carriers in the region and 25 or so reinsurers. Most insurance companies are, like a lot of organisations, family based and the profit model is more based on a commission model with very low retentions as most business is reinsured out and therefore there may not be much attention paid to maintaining a profitable risk portfolio.

Political instability in places such as Egypt are a big factor, but this is less so in places such as Qatar or UAE. Charles also recounted some of his experiences of the region including trying to put together an insurance product to cover thoroughbred camels, along the lines of a bloodstock product. As anyone from the region would know camel racing is a big sport!

PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE ELAINE'S PERSONAL VIEWS AND INTERPRETATION OF THE PRESENTATION. AS SUCH, THEY SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

MANAGING IMPLEMENTATION RISK PRESENTATION - JANUARY 2016

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David Mellor (yes he has heard all jokes about wearing Chelsea kit, and more!) has a card which after his name simply says ‘Mentoring’. And he is a consultant who does exactly what it says – when he is not writing books about, lecturing about it and living it.

Having been a banker advising businesses, he liberated himself and decided to give that advice on his own behalf. As he says himself, he timed the move immaculately – just as the markets fell off a cliff nearly a decade ago now! But his own small business came through and has been helping others ever since.

His expertise is in helping one man bands and very small businesses to expand and to manage and benefit from that expansion. How to keep up cash-flow and client contact while learning how to delegate and devolve. How to retain all the advantages of being one’s own boss while bringing in others and benefiting from their contacts, knowledge and skills. How to keep flexible while using systems with colleagues.

In other words, how to grow while retaining the fun and excitement – and profitability - of one business.

He gave invaluable insights, while remaining (as one’s business should) warm, open, engaging and fun to be with. We all had an enjoyable, as well as a useful evening.

Christmas Party - December 2015

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AirSP members and their guests filled the bar of The Lloyd’s Club on the evening of Thursday 17 December 2015 for a great end of year party. Costing nothing financially to members, who have supported AirSP so well during the year, they endured a short speech by the Chairman, thanking them for that support, and looking forward to the great programme which AirSP plans for 2016.

AirSP intends to continue in 2016 its monthly programme of meetings. These will cover wide ranging topics of interest to all members, ranging from top management tips in January and marketing in May, through regulatory issues courtesy of the FCA, women’s issues in insurance markets, geographical developments in important parts of the world for insurance and so on. On a lighter note, besides repeating our annual and ever popular Monte Carlo Dinner, we also intend to repeat the very well received Quiz Night. Most importantly, we plan to have another great Christmas Party on 15 December 2016! For the full calendar of planned events, see below.

2015 was a good year for AirSP. We think our members had great fun, good networking value, good information on latest marketing developments of all sorts of types, and the opportunity to meet new people: our membership is expanding (and has already expanded further in 2016).

Many thanks to everybody who has made the year a great success and who made the Christmas Party a great success. I wish all members and their friends a happy and prosperous 2016, and look forward to enjoying AirSP’s varied and interesting 2016 events with you all.

Bill Perry

SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENTATION - NOVEMBER 2015

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Mairi Mallon is the acknowledged prophet of the use of social media in the context of insurance and its marketing. AirSP was delighted when she came to talk to us about this.

Social media epitomise the fast-changing world in which we live. Not only does what appears on them change with (sometimes startling) rapidity, but the social media in use can also change with almost equal rapidity. Twitter did not even exist 10 years ago. In 2015 it had 500 million users. Even Facebook is only 12 years old, founded in 2004; yet by 2011 it recorded 1 trillion page views per month and by January 2014 1.23 billion users were active monthly, of whom over 1 billion accessed it using a mobile device.

These statistics alone are enough to show that use of social media must be essential to market a business. One has to use it; and keep up with the changes in the way one’s potential and actual clients expect to interact on it and see their suppliers appear on it. The speed involved makes this a quite different field from good old print or even TV.

Mairi has great experience in this field. Informally and humorously she illustrated the opportunities and pitfalls. She also passed on many useful tips about how to use social media to keep clients and potential clients aware, engaged, up to date – and hence happy with the service they were getting and those supplying it. And then went away to tweet about it all – as all her audience should have done!

Charity Quiz Night - 2 November 2015

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Good company, good wine and good knowledge, that is all you need to make the AirSP’s Annual Quiz Night a success, and this year did not disappoint.

With close to 100 guests and 17 teams packed with solicitors, engineers, accountants and consultants, all competing to be crowned the AirSP’s Quiz Masters 2015, it doesn’t take a genius to visualise just how much rivalry and competitive spirit filled the alcoves of our fantastic venue, The Habit, Crutched Friars. 

Furthermore, we are delighted to have raised over £775.00 in support of our chosen charity; Blind Veterans UK. The only UK wide charity that exists solely to support the UK’s blind ex-Servicemen and women, they provide lifelong practical and emotional support to Armed Forces and National Service veterans regardless of when they served or how they lost their sight. This year they celebrate their Centenary Anniversary and we are delighted to have been involved in helping them continue with their great work for the next 100 years!

Congratulations to the winning team, “The Lost Clause”, and thank you to everyone who came along to compete and whom donated to a very worthy cause. We look forward to next year!

Ellen Rawlinson, at BVUK, told us “Without kind donations such as this, we simply wouldn’t be able to continue with our work and provide the vital support, training and rehabilitation to all ex-Servicemen and women that come to us for help. The support from AirSP and all those who participated in the Quiz are enabling us to fulfil our mission of ensuring that no one has to battle sight loss alone.

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Cyber Risks Talk - 29 September 2015

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Written by Mark Wood, Tokra Consulting Limited on 6th October 2015.

On Tuesday 29th September, AirSP was lucky enough to host a presentation from Anna Bender, Associate Director in the Insurance Division of Fitch Ratings, London, which both provided insight and provoked debate on the topic of cyber risk and insurers’ exposure to it.

With the event taking place at The Broker’s Wine Bar in Leadenhall Market, it is fair to say that – as with other such events held by AirSP – the approach taken was much more “user friendly” than some others in the market as the talk was not simply a lecture on Fitch’s views. Anna involved everyone present in a discussion about the issue of cyber risk and how it needs to be considered and addressed by people, organisations, the insurance and reinsurance market and government. These discussions did, of course, continue when everyone who stayed on moved down to the bar afterwards!

The presentation was based on Fitch’s report “The rise of cyber insurance” and covered the following areas:

  • A growth opportunity: the role of cyber insurance, the impact of public and private awareness and of government legislation;

  • The risks: credit risks (from a rating perspective), high aggregation risk, limited reinsurance availability, expertise requirements, modelling capabilities and issues and insurers becoming targets.

I would be pleased to share that with anyone who would like to read it in full – just contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Don’t panic, it is only 7 pages.

From my perspective as a member of AirSP, I believe the key points that arose from the discussion revolve around the two key questions that Anna asked us:

  1. Do you think cyber insurance is mainly…

  1. … a major opportunity for (re)insurance companies [modelling this type of risk will improve and give clients and insurers more confidence in writing this type of risk profitably.]

  2. … a substantial risk to (re)insurers’ reputation and balance sheet [Loss/data statistics and general understanding of the particular risks remain limited, which makes cyber risks almost impossible to price. Underwriting this type of risk is an accident waiting to happen. There is no good coming out of this for the insurance industry.]

More people in the room seemed to react more to the “risk” element than any “opportunity”, although from an AirSP member’s perspective I guess both could be true.

What sparked debate amongst those present was how the nature of cyber risk has evolved, such that insurers and reinsurers (as well as insureds) did not necessarily know exactly what they expected policies to cover or to exclude! As a result, loose wordings had resulted in some unexpected consequences, although some would say there’s nothing new in that.

2. Who do you think should lead in promoting cyber protection /consultation / education and best practice?

  1. Governments [because it would ensure that rules are applied (and enforced) consistently across industries.]

  2. Insurance companies [because they have a direct financial interest in getting it right. It can also create an incentive to insureds to improve their cyber resilience in order to obtain a lower premium.]

  3. Brokers [because they know best what their clients need. This would ensure a more tailor-made approach to cyber protection.]

  4. Cyber Security / IT Specialists [because they have the most comprehensive knowledge of cyber threats.]

Having spoken to Anna on the night and subsequently, there appears to be a varied opinion as to the answer to this question depending upon the audience. With ours, whilst there were people voting for all of the options, the majority were very much in favour of option D. Was that just a natural response from the members present that, as specialist service providers, simply viewed the issue from that perspective? From the lively discussion, I don’t believe that to be the case but it would be interesting to hear the reasoning of other audiences that had reached different conclusions.

I would just like to conclude by thanking those responsible for arranging these talks for us and, to any of you who have yet to attend such events, a recommendation to do so – along with a chance to network with others in the market, you can obtain invaluable insight about and get to discuss some very interesting topics.

MONTE CARLO DINNER - 14 SEPTEMBER 2015

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What more could one want on a lovely autumn evening in Monte Carlo than a good dinner in the company of nice people with, and with whose help, one was hoping to do good business? That is what AirSP Members who attended the Annual Dinner at the Quai des Artistes on Monday 14 September got!

The Rendezvous de Septembre is always an invigorating mixture of serious discussions and pleasant socialising. To a degree, the latter creates or helps to create the former. People who are often too busy with immediate business at work have time to reach out, think more broadly and explore new possibilities. AirSP exists to help its Members take advantage of that, and indeed to do that themselves.

Our numbers were up on last year (partly because the dinner price had been held at the same level!). Both the meal and the company were excellent. Attendees covered the usual whole range of AirSP Members, from actuaries through lawyers, run-off experts, analysts, loss adjusters and brokers. There was new thinking about what was happening in the world of insurance and reinsurance, allied with good contacts and the exchange of names for further good contacts. Equally importantly, a great time was had by all.

The Association, judged by this dinner, is in great shape. It is growing, it is vibrant, and its Members work together well. I urge you all to recruit new Members into this encouraging, growing and productive mix.

Bill Perry

Chairman

Insurance Act 2015 Summary

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Members can access by Insurance Act 2015 summary by logging into the site.

Insurance Act 2015 Talk - 12 May 2015

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One of AirSP’s objectives is to keep its members up-to-date with developments in the law and the market as they happen. We were therefore delighted to have Charlotte Waters, of Fisher Scoggins Waters, talk to AirSP on 12 May about the Insurance Act 2015.

Members can access the Insurance Act summary, featured in the News Articles, by logging into the site.

26 MAY 2015 - MARTIN KANWAR, REFOCUS LLC, ZURICH

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Martin Kanwar, Managing Partner of Swiss Advisors REFOCUS LLC and AirSp member participated at our AirSp Board Meeting on 26 May in London followed by a discussion about regulatory challenges faced by Insurance, Reinsurance, Captives and Run-Off carriers in Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Complex and business sensitive areas (internal model, model application with regulator) are often dealt with by the companies internally or with strategic partners. However, a number of hands-on drafting, documenting and updating of internal policies and guidelines (System of Governance area - Pillar II) - are often outsourced or carried out with specialized practitioners. An area where we see good opportunities for AirSp members.

Since 2010 REFOCUS LLC, Zurich, has focused on Solvency II / Pillar II topics (Governance, Audit, Risk Management, Compliance) and is happy to support any efforts from AirSp colleagues following the same route and combine forces. CLICK HERE to download document.