Secretary General’s Statement

Dear Geneva Association’s members:

The year 2017 marked a very important evolution of the Association. The strategy continues to be geared towards research and advocacy that enhances risk awareness, and now focuses increasingly on promoting the contribution of the insurance industry to the sustainability of the economy and society.

We do this by identifying the key societal trends affecting insurance, discerning (i) the underlying risks affecting society; (ii) what the insurance industry can do to mitigate such risks; and (iii) the necessary conditions for the industry to deliver on its mission. Thus, our research and advocacy activities are driven by the intention to provide forward-looking insights into current and future developments influencing our industry.

Our research programmes take a broader societal view of the implications of risk. Take, for example, the Digitisation research initiative, where we look at the fundamental socio-economic transformations triggered by the digital economy, and reflect on how the insurance industry should respond to the many implications, for instance on data privacy and innovation. Cyber is another case in point. As cyber risk becomes more and more pervasive, it touches every aspect of society. Our Cyber programme aims to help stakeholders understand cyber risks and devise ways in which the insurance industry can respond, bringing issues of insurability to the forefront.

Our reports reflect this broader approach. The ‘Low for Long’ Challenge study looks at how low interest rates make it more difficult for individuals to find reliable retirement solutions with appropriate returns, and highlights how life insurers are developing solutions to serve customer needs in the current challenging environment. Another example is the report Understanding and Addressing Global Insurance Protection Gaps, which puts forward a taxonomy of underinsurance root causes to enhance the understanding of insurance protection gaps as a function of stages of socio-economic development.

If the insurance industry is to deliver on its mission, it must understand why people do not buy the necessary insurance to cover themselves for risks they are well aware of. To find an answer to this question, the working groups of the Global Ageing and Protection Gap research programmes have started a joint project that will take a deep dive into consumers’ insurance purchasing behaviours in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, U.K., U.S., and Switzerland.

During the last year, we also further developed our conference programmes to facilitate multi-disciplinary discussions that help us identify emerging trends affecting society. The intent is to develop novel approaches to leverage the risk management expertise of insurers. Let me highlight just a few examples. The 14th Annual Round Table of Chief Risk Officers (ART of CROs), hosted by MAPFRE in Madrid, explored topics including protectionism, technology and the societal impacts of artificial intelligence. The 11th Chief Investment Officers’ Meeting, hosted by Lloyd’s in London, highlighted global trends such as the low interest rate environment and the effects of climate change. And the 20th Annual Circle of Chief Economists (ACCE), hosted by Munich Re in Munich, focused on the effects of accelerated digitisation—for example cyber risk—particularly as accumulation exposure becomes a cause of concern on a societal scale, and a core competence of insurers is to extend the boundaries of insurability whenever new risks emerge.

The Geneva Association is well positioned to reinforce its status as the leading think tank of the insurance industry. Our focused approach allows us to concentrate on identifying the global themes where insurance can—and should—make a contribution to building socio-economic resilience.

Please join me in thanking our outgoing chairman, Mike McGavick, for his insight, leadership and dedication in making The Geneva Association stronger over the last five years. Our industry is currently facing great opportunities and challenges and I am sure that our incoming chairman, Mark Wilson, will build upon Mike’s legacy and ensure the Association continues to deliver on its mission.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the General Assembly in Paris!

With kind regards,
Anna Maria D’Hulster

Anna Maria D’Hulster
Secretary General