Less Talk About Technology or Rendezvous May Lose its Fizz?

As an industry which provides plenty of travel, then the wholesale insurance and reinsurance market must be near the top of the league, writes London Market Technology Consultant Roger Foord.

All parts of the world, Asean, US, Middle East regions love the networking and business excuse for a conference. Top of the tree though, must be the Rendezvous de Septembre early every September in Monte Carlo.

For over twenty years I and others in technology have attended this event but there was always the feeling that we were intruding into something which was not interested in technology and we were only able to feel comfortable in that we were providing a different aspect the evening and lunchtime cocktail parties rather than the discussion on rates and the upcoming January renewal season.

As an event it is, for four or five days, a hive of business meetings between brokers, carriers and clients and from its discussions the following years global reinsurance is given a starting pistol. The added factor of the surroundings help a lot and the ‘my event is bigger than your event’ parties provided by some of the major market players is a bonus. Who can forget Dennis Mahoney‘s Aon events, now replaced by the Scor Lounge behind the Casino every evening as ‘the’ event, where people meet friends and colleagues. The preponderance of London attendees does seem a bit obvious late evenings and the whole social life on the Rendezvous because of this has been called ‘Balls Brothers on Sea’ by some. But then with back to back meetings starting at 8.00 in morning and finishing at 5.30, the opportunity to eat well and socialise in one of  the most bizarre but glamorous places in Europe seems fine. However late the evenings the real business is still carried out.

While the event is talking about reinsurance, it does seem that the word ‘technology’ should be a big part of the conference. Where else are three thousand organisations able to meet and not find time to determine where their business is heading with the new InsureTech initiatives. This is certainly the case with the Lloyd’s presence but even though the attendees are from Chairman/CEO/CUO/CBO levels from almost every country in the world, the opportunity to discuss relationships in the future by using technology do not seem to figure in discussions.

Maybe it is the fear that with a global ‘e’ playing field such events as the Rendezvous: Singapore: RIMS in the US: and Dubai would lose their importance. So maybe the InsureTech ideas can be left at home for the IT anoraks to worry about over a pint rather than with a glass of champagne!