Starr’s Hank Greenberg to Headline Global Insurance Forum, and Other Highlights from the Two-Day IIS Event

This year’s IIS Global Insurance Forum picks the brains of insurance executives to see where they think the industry is headed.
By: | October 3, 2020

C.V. Starr chairman and CEO Hank Greenberg

The International Insurance Society Global Insurance Forum is the latest conference to switch to an entirely virtual format this year, a move that comes with many advantages for both speakers and attendees.

“We’ll be able to reach a much broader audience across multiple time zones. We’ve also been able to attract more executives to participate, because they didn’t have to travel,” said Josh Landau, president of the International Insurance Society (IIS).

“We’ll of course miss the in-person interaction among our panelists and attendees, but ultimately, the virtual format enables us to deliver high-quality content to more people, and we’re very excited about our lineup this year.”

The overall theme of this year’s forum is the insurance industry of the future. Panelists and presenters will discuss the global challenges facing the industry today, how it should respond and what long-term changes we can expect to see in the way insurance products are crafted and delivered.

Attendees will hear the perspectives of industry veterans, as well as its rising stars, and hopefully leave with actionable insights on how their own organizations should adapt to a changing world.

Session Highlights: Day 1

The Forum will open at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct 13, with a “Future State of the Industry” panel, featuring four insurance CEOs from Marsh & McLennan Companies, Sun Life Financial, Generali and Aviva. Mick Moloney, partner and global insurance co-head of Oliver Wyman, will moderate the discussion.

Expect these executives to touch on high-level threats such as climate risk, economic instability and the uncertain long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As risks evolve, becoming more complex and interconnected, how should global insurers shift their strategic priorities? How else can insurers add value to society beyond the provision of a financial safety net?

Landau expects data and digitization to emerge as common themes in discussions of the industry’s response to changing customer needs.

Josh Landau, president, International Insurance Society

“Acceleration of digitization in the insurance world will be among the common themes, especially in the context of our current work-from-home environment,” Landau said.

“The way insurance is sold and delivered is rapidly evolving, with online distribution becoming a more important channel. Data analytics is also advancing at a rapid pace, and allows for granularity that should lead to more accurate pricing and better risk management.”

Day 1 also features the Forum’s main event — a keynote address delivered by C.V. Starr chairman and CEO Hank Greenberg. With 60 years of insurance leadership experience behind him, Mr. Greenberg is sure to offer valuable insight on the top challenges facing the industry today and how the industry should evolve to overcome them.

Following Mr. Greenberg’s address, attendees should tune in to “RGA Leaders of Tomorrow: Insights from The Next Generation of Industry Leadership.”

“RGA Leaders of Tomorrow is an amazing program. It’s a select group of candidates that publish and present original papers on a specific topic within the industry. They are the industry’s top talent; the rising stars we expect to lead the industry of tomorrow. In this session, they’ll talk about how they plan to help change the industry and move it forward,” Landau said.

“I’m always excited for this program, because it is the core to IIS as an organization. We focus on promoting thought leadership and connectivity with our next generation of leaders.”

Later that evening, IIS, in conjunction with the Pacific Insurance Conference, will host a very unique panel with four executives of Asia-based insurance companies, in their own time zone, to discuss the specific challenges and opportunities of the Asia-Pacific market. The session won’t begin until 10 p.m., but Landau believes it’s worth staying up for.

“This is something we would not have been able to do with an in-person conference, so it’s an example of how the virtual format gives us more flexibility to bring in A-list panelists and greater diversity of perspective,” he said.

Panelists will talk about how to stay competitive in the Asia-Pacific market in light of the challenges associated with COVID-19, and China’s growing economic influence.

Session Highlights: Day 2

One can’t-miss session on Oct. 14 has to be “Insurtech, Digital Transformation and Interconnection.” For years, incumbent carriers have partnered with Insurtech firms to modernize their processes, creating efficiency, improved customer service, more granular underwriting and in many cases a competitive advantage.

But the industry has nonetheless struggled to completely shed its reputation for being slow to innovate.

COVID-19, despite its challenges, certainly helped to shatter that reputation. Over the past six months, insurance companies have successfully transitioned to remote work environments thanks to the strength of their platforms and collaboration tools. While digital transformation may never be complete, it is no longer about survival.

In this session, three Insurtech executives will discuss how these nimble technology firms will become more integrated into the insurance landscape going forward.

“I do believe the current environment is accelerating the convergence of Insurtech and traditional carriers as a result of the demand for both more efficient delivery of insurance products and more innovation that’s needed to address emerging risks. When you take experience and capital of legacy insurers and combine it with innovation and tools of Insurtech, you can achieve exponential positive growth,” Landau said.

Staying on the topic of innovation, the Forum will close with a “Future State of the Industry” panel featuring four chief innovation officers, moderated by QBE North America Chairman Truett Tate.

Panelists will examine the challenges and opportunities that technological advances bring to the insurance industry. Are insurers leveraging technology’s full potential to bring added value to the market and achieve sustainable growth, or is the rapid pace of digitization still a stumbling block? When it comes to Big Data, how can information be shared without compromising privacy or integrity?

“We’re hoping that the executives will articulate how they are prioritizing their initiatives given the current state of the market and where they anticipate future value to be,” Landau said.

For a complete list of speakers and session descriptions, visit the Global Insurance Forum website. &

Katie Dwyer is a freelance editor and writer based out of Philadelphia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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