The mother of them all, the RIMS convention attracting 9,000+ delegates last week in Los Angeles, demonstrated yet again the enduring appeal of face to face networking in our industry. As ever the exhibitors clamoured for attention in the vast hall: building sand sculptures, handing out odd looking freebies and doing magic tricks. There was even a conference for the diehards with over 100 educational sessions addressing an array of risk management hot topics. The real action though was in the coffee shops, restaurants and hotel lobbies where clients, their brokers and insurers huddled together to discuss the business of the day.
Published to coincide with RIMS, Aon’s annual Global Risk Management Survey neatly captured what were probably the main talking points in most of those meetings. Unsurprisingly in topping the list of major risks; the state of the economy, slow pace of recovery, regulatory changes and increasing competition all speak of a wider business climate which remains tough for our clients. The pressure on providers to offer wider coverage, better service and more competitive pricing looks set to continue.
Depressing perhaps yet the survey also signals where the longer term opportunity for insurers might exist. Damage to reputation and brand; supply chain interruption and political risk and uncertainty, all significant risks in the top ten, are areas where tailored insurance can cushion the financial impact. Traditionally Lloyd’s focus has been on wholesale and reinsurance distribution channels into US but given the level of demand now for product innovation, the market is taking a far keener interest in the risk manager community and their retail producers. The Lloyd’s stand, awarded best of show at RIMS and supporting well over seventy underwriters and brokers, buzzed with activity over the three days.
The newly reinvigorated downtown of Los Angeles proved to be a popular venue this time around; even the notorious traffic mostly behaved itself for the duration of the convention. There is every sign that RIMS 2014 in Denver will be just as attractive to delegates and the interest from London in building relationships with this community is sure to be even greater.