The ICMIF Biennial Conference will unite mutual and cooperative insurers from 37 nations to address key topics in New Zealand this week

Monday, 11 November 2019

More than 50 mutual and cooperative insurer companies from 37 nations will converge on Auckland this week to address key topics impacting the sector and the communities they support – including emerging socio-economic risks, environmental challenges and industry leadership.

These issues and more will be discussed at the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) biennial conference–with New Zealand-owned insurer FMG supporting the conference as host.  The theme of the conference is the Future of Mutuality.

While the number of mutuals and cooperatives in New Zealand are relatively small; in other countries they’re considerably more common. In fact, over the last 10 years mutuals and cooperatives have become the fastest-growing part of the global insurance industry according to ICMIF’s Global Mutual Market Share 10 report.

“One of the reasons we asked to support ICMIF in hosting their conference was to help highlight the role mutual and coops play within communities, which is often different to that of publically listed companies, says Pete Frizzell, FMG’s General Manager People & Culture and Communications. 

“A couple of distinct advantages include being able to take a longer-term view of developing the organisation, rather than meet short term expectations of shareholders. The other is that we operate with a higher accountability to community as we’re owned by the people we insure.

“A major example of this for FMG would be Farmstrong, the rural wellbeing programme we created and run with Mental Health Foundation.

“Internationally insurers are operating to this higher sense of purpose to help their communities to address other significant issues, such as making insurance accessible in poor and disadvantaged communities,” says Mr Frizzell.

Speaking on behalf of ICMIF, Chief Executive Shaun Tarbuck said, “We are delighted to bring the mutual and cooperative insurance sector to New Zealand for the ICMIF Biennial Conference and our Board and I would like to express our gratitude to FMG for hosting the event. Over 300 delegates are attending the event and the theme of the Conference, The future of mutuality, has driven an agenda focused on the future of the customer-owned model in insurance and how ICMIF members are creating sustainable, competitive advantage”.

Tarbuck continued, “The mutual and cooperative insurance market has been the fastest-growing part of the global insurance industry in the 10-year period since the global financial crisis. In this ten year period, premium income of the global mutual and cooperative insurance sector grew by a total of 30% compared to 17% growth of the total global insurance industry. As a result, the global market share of mutual and cooperative insurers rose from 24.0% in 2007 to 26.7% in 2017. In 2017, 922 million members/policyholders were being served by mutual/cooperative insurance companies, a 13% growth since 2012. The growing positive socio-economic impact of the mutual and cooperative sector was also evident in the increase in the number of people employed by the sector, which reached 1.16 million in 2017 – a 24% growth since 2007,” Tarbuck concluded.

Delegates attending the Conference will hear from a wide range of speakers including one session featuring guest speaker Mami Mizutori. Mami Mizutori is the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction at the United Nations join with others to discuss the role of cooperative and mutual insurers in closing the protection gap, alleviating poverty and increasing resilience to disaster risks.

The ICMIF conference is the largest global gathering of mutual and cooperative insurance leaders with more 300 executives travelling to New Zealand. This year’s event is also the first time it’s been held in Asia-Pacific country in more than 20 years.

The Conference runs from the 12-15 November.