Insurance Development Forum Meet In Singapore

June 13, 2016

This last weekend in Singapore, the Insurance Development Forum [IDF] began its work with 90 public and private sector participants engaged in eight working groups with two days of deliberations in an open forum in conjunction with the Global Insurance Forum of the International Insurance Society [IIS].

The IDF work is also incorporated into the June 13 and 14 IIS General Session program. IDF Chair Stephen Catlin noted this is the beginning of a critically important process that will result in specific insurance risk transfer, public policy and resilience recommendations to be considered by the newly appointed IDF Steering Committee at its late-September meeting to be held in New York City in the margins of the United Nations [UN] General Assembly session.

“This public private partnership between insurers, the United Nations and the World Bank Group creates a once in a lifetime opportunity for insurers’ risk management skills to be applied to close the Protection Gap – affording the benefits of insurance in helping protect people and property from natural disaster risk. And protecting society by preventing future death, destruction and injury by building a more resilient infrastructure,” noted Stephen Catlin, Chair of the IDF Steering Committee, Executive Deputy Chair XL Catlin, and Chair of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers.

Samuel Munzele Maimbo, Practice Manager, Finance and Markets, World Bank Group, noting the importance of this effort stated, “From the World Bank Group’s perspective it has become increasingly apparent that without the right risk management tools a lot of our development work will be much less effective as people could be pulled back into poverty due solely to one or two natural disaster events.

“With this partnership we have a unique opportunity to combine private sector tools and resources with public sector policies and incentives so that we can scale up successful insurance programs faster to respond to an increasing number of extreme disaster events.”

Left to right: Michael Morrissey, President, International Insurance Society; Quentin Coolen, United Nations Development Program; Stephen Catlin, Chair, Insurance Development Forum and Deputy Executive Chair XL Catlin; Samuel Munzele Maimbo, World Bank Group; and Rowan Douglas, Willis Towers Watson.

Insurance Development Forum Bermuda June 13 2016

Quentin Coolen, senior political coordinator at the United Nations Development Program [UNDP] commented: “For the UN, the IDF is not really about insurance — it’s about sustainable development. If development is not risk-informed, it is not sustainable. And who better than the insurance industry to contribute to a better measurement of risk? Clearly, the international policymaker community and insurers need each other.”

“We are in unchartered territory; we’ve never done this before,” noted Stephen Catlin. “To get this group of high level insurance executives together with the highest level of engagement from the UN and the World Bank Group is no mean feat. We are now in the spotlight and we have to deliver meaningful change — that is our intent.”

He added, “There are both altruistic and economic reasons for insurers to engage to speed the availability of insurance to protect people and property particularly in the developing world.”

Rowan Douglas, chair of the IDF Implementation Committee said: “On Monday we heard the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore speak to two core challenges for Asia in growing its insurance markets: 1] adapt regulation so that insurers can invest in infrastructure; and 2] build the data analytics so that insurers can measure risk and expand the sale of insurance products protecting against catastrophes.

“This is a powerful endorsement of the IDF view that risk analytics and risk sharing essentials of insurance will be at the mainstream of the debate on resilience in meeting sustainable development goals and closing the Protection Gap. There is an alignment of economic interests to help achieve social outcomes. This effort will unlock insurance demand.”

Mike Morrissey, President of the International Insurance Society, which had incubated the work of the IDF for several years noted: “The core capability and skill sets of the industry are in assessing and measuring risk. We can transfer these skills to the public institutions.” And he noted: “Public infrastructure is going to be financed by pension funds and insurers. These are the reasons the UN and the World Bank Group have valued this association with the insurance industry.”

In conclusion, Stephen Catlin commented that he was greatly encouraged to see Jeremy Cox, CEO of the Bermuda Monetary Authority [BMA] in attendance at the workshops.

“This is a very positive step to see a senior regulator engaged. Many of these eight work-streams involve insurance regulatory systems that must encourage use of reinsurance to diversify risk across borders; and that must allow the sale of micro insurance products that mutualize risk. We will need senior insurance regulatory officials to address critical issues that impede the deployment of insurance capital,” he said.

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