15 May 2020Insurance

Re/insurers urged to uphold Monte Carlo dates to ‘protect soul’ of industry

Senior re/insurances leaders have urged the sector to take a “symbolic” stand to “protect and defend the soul of the industry” by upholding the cancelled Monte Carlo rendez-vous as a key event in their diaries in 2020, albeit virtually.

In an open letter, the signatories said events such as Monte Carlo and Baden-Baden “go way beyond being an opportunity to meet and entertain”, enabling critical sector-wide communication and planning in the face of the extraordinary challenges of COVID-19.

Monte Carlo has been taken off the agenda at a time when re/insurers are grappling with “significant challenges as to the sustainability of our business and operational model as well as to our reputation and responsibility to mitigate risk and alleviate pain and distress”, wrote Bernd Zens, DEVK Re board member, Arndt Gossmann, CEO at Gossmann & Cie, and Marc Beckers, head of EMEA at TigerRisk Partners.

The industry is up to the challenge, they argued, saying this was “not the first time” the re/insurance industry had confronted huge challenges. “Back in 1957, when the ‘Rendez-vous de Septembre" was invented, the industry was faced with the reconstruction of Europe after the second World War, and one of the main reasons for its creation was establishing a common sense of purpose, proximity and shared commitment on the way forward.

“While we are all confident that the human tragedy of Covid-19 will not compare to the experience of a war, it becomes painfully evident that the economic, social and political implications will be immense. And so our industry today faces another unprecedented challenge. In the context of our role as risk-mitigators, capital providers and investors, we are asked not only to face this challenge but to shape it in a way that safeguards our values of trust, integrity, proximity, collective sharing and forward planning.”

This huge responsibility prompted the three leaders to call for a commitment to Monte Carlo 2020 that goes beyond virtual communication to “compensate for the lost proximity” of the physical event. Virtual meetings are a good start but they are not enough, they said.

“We believe we should take a step further as a symbolic sign of our commitment to our founding principles, which we all hold dear. We propose that we maintain our Monte Carlo agendas blocked for meetings on the indicated days and each one of us proceeds with the meetings as planned, via digital tools and video calls.”

They wrote: “All we need is to dedicate ourselves and our time and to showcase our willingness to facilitate a digital Monte Carlo dimension.”

A question mark remains over the next big industry event, Baden-Baden, scheduled for October 2020. The letter said that depending on the level of health risk, “we should examine the creation of health protocols that could enable this event taking place under fewer attendees/per company guidelines”.

“Before cancelling the Baden-Baden event altogether, we should carefully and thoughtfully consider its proper and safe implementation, under the right precautionary measures, this year and until the successful development of a vaccine.”

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