With less than a month to go until the annual Monte Carlo Rendezvous returns after a three year absence it does so against a backdrop of a dire global economic outlook.
The topic may well be clear but the industry also needs to be aware of the optics.
Europe has been suffering under intense heatwaves, wildfires and the expectation that the long sweltering summer which has seen record breaking temperatures is set to become the new norm.
The industry has been talking about the threat of climate change at the Rendezvous for over two decades, however this year is likely to see the talk turn to examples of where the market is taking determined action to play its part.
The climate is starting to reach a point where the industry will need to re-examine the aggregation risks. Climate change or not the severity and frequency of extreme weather events is increasing as area economic and insurance costs.
Renewable technology is moving at a rapid pace, but there are serious risks at present around the use of battery storage and the potential for combustion.
Away from climate the demand for cyber solutions shows no signs of abating and the industry is still playing catch up both in demand and the way in which the threat is continually evolving.
The challenges are significant but so are the optics.
The pandemic severely dented the industry’s reputation particularly around the business interruption disputes which reinforced the hackneyed view that insurers will make every effort to avoid paying a claim.
The global economy is such that I am sure there will be some negative media around the fact that across the planet the cost of living crisis is eating into the ability of many millions to meet their financial responsibilities. Yet in the face of rising inflation and economic woes, the reinsurance sector is heading off to the one of the most iconic venues on earth for the rich and famous and home to the world’s financial elite.
However, it is an image problem which will dissipate immediately if, and it is a big if, the return of a face to face Rendezvous results in some tangible progress on the issues that beset global business and government.
The Rendezvous at its outset was a meeting between the CEOs and very senior staff at the reinsurers, insurers and brokers to examine the issues they faced and how best they could be tackled.
While this year the number of attendees is likely to be in excess of 3,000 and the organisers have already said that at present the tables used for the short sharp meetings are already sold out, there is the opportunity for the industry to truly make its mark.
To do so there needs to be concrete outcomes. New policies to tackle the major risks, which will be offered at 1/1 2023 not 1/1 2026, or a definitive and clear industry initiative that will tackle the most pressing global challenges head on.
Jon Guy, Editor