ICMIF/Americas Celebrates a New Era for Cooperative/Mutual Insurance

Friday, 30 November 2012

This year’s ICMIF/Americas’ 20th Annual Conference drew an impressive total of 155 delegates from 19 countries from both the Americas’ region and around the world. Coming together in sunny Buenos Aires, Argentina, delegates focused on the unique opportunities and challenges ahead for A New Era for Cooperative and Mutual Insurance, this year’s conference theme.

On November 14th, the two day conference began with Enrique Ferrari, President, San Cristobal Seguros (Argentina) being named Honorary Chairman of the conference and praised for his many years of service to our movement. In addition to a warm welcome from the conference hosts, the Argentinean Association of Cooperative and Mutual Insurers (AACMS), special guests included Santiago Fraschina, Deputy Superintendent of Argentina’s National Superintendence of Insurance.

The day went on to focus on the opportunities presented by the International Year of Co-operatives, including the key note presentation from the Reverend Paul Flowers, Chairman of The Co-operative Banking Group (UK), Renewing our Cooperative Values, Reinventing our Brand. Extenuating circumstances meant that Paul was unable to attend the conference ‘in the flesh’, but thanks to a quick response from the ICMIFtv team, the keynote speaker was able to share his messages via a pre-recorded video.

Delegates were then given the opportunity to be one of the first stakeholder groups to review and discuss the International Cooperative Alliance’s Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade. An excellent CEO panel discussed the five goals for the future as set out in the Blueprint; which are Participation, Sustainability, Identity, Supportive Legal Framework and Capital.

Dr. Vincent Bérubé from McKinsey & Company shared the results of three groundbreaking multi-sector international studies on cooperatives which had been commissioned by Desjardins Group for the Québec 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives. Andrés Elola, General Manager of Surco Seguros (Uruguay) provided an analysis of the implications of the studies for Latin American cooperative and mutual insurers. With a call to action advising members to leverage their cooperative difference, this session rounded off the first day and set an excellent tone for the event.

On the second day, Juan Carlos Godoy, Chairman of the AACMS, shared a brief report on his observations on “Trends in Insurance Regulation” from the most recent Latin American Association of Insurance Supervisors (ASSAL) Conference. Delegates then listened to Sebastian Marenzi, Technical and Normative Director at Argentina’s National Superintendence of Insurance about insurance regulation perspectives and trends in Argentina.

Dr. Eduardo Giannetti da Fonseca, Ph.D. Economist, INSPER - Institute of Education and Research - São Paulo (Brazil) delivered an excellent presentation explaining the fundamental causes of the current global economic crisis as well as prospects for the world economy in the future. Dr. Giannetti believes that the emerging middle class in Latin American presents an exceptional opportunity for growth in cooperative and mutual insurance and gave a fascinating insight into how we may be able to predict consumer behaviour in Latin America in the 21st century by looking at consumer behaviour in the developed world 100 years ago. He added that as cooperatives are close to their members they are ideally placed to design new products to meet their members' evolving needs as their consumer behaviour changes.

Matthew Mosher, Senior Vice President and Chief Ratings Officer at ICMIF Supporting Member A.M. Best then explored best practice for members when working with a ratings agency and how a ratings agency can enhance an organisation’s reputation. Andrea Keenan, Assistant Vice President, Economic and Industry Research at A.M. Best, shared her insights on the expectations for growth in Latin America; paying particular attention to the microinsurance sector.

The second day was brought to a close by ICMIF Chief Executive Shaun Tarbuck who shared the latest trends from the latest ICMIF Mutual Market Share and Global 500 reports, with particular emphasis on the growth of the Latin American market. Following on from this Shaun and Ed Potter, ICMIF/Americas Executive Director, led a lively debate with delegates on the topic of “What does it take to be a winning insurer of the future?”

The Conference ended with sessions relating to Reputation, Branding and Marketing. Shaun Tarbuck and Liz Green, Senior Vice-Present, Communication, ICMIF shared updates regarding two new projects that have recently been approved by the ICMIF Board. Shaun discussed plans that aim to boost the impact of the current Allnations capital access project. Liz unveiled a study that will measure the reputation of the global cooperative and mutual insurance sector using the latest reputation theory and analysis of digital imprints.

Dr. Rafael Moliterno, Executive President, Seguros Unimed (Brazil) and Lyne Giroux, Director, Risk Management, Desjardins General Insurance Company (Canada) then shared their practical experience of digital marketing, social media, e-commerce and strategic marketing. Sharing inspirational case studies and details of the lessons they had learned in their respective organisations, their interactive presentation marked a fitting end to the formal agenda.

During this excellent event, the assembled delegation also paid their respects to Alfredo A Gonzalez Moledo, AACMS, who has served the AACMS Association for 40 years. At the end of the conference it was also time to bid farewell to ICMIF/Americas Chairman, Dennis Deters, The Co-operators (Canada) who retires this year after many years serving the ICMIF/Americas Board.

At the ICMIF/Americas Annual General Meeting, Rafael Moliterno, Executive President of Seguros Unimed (Brazil), was elected the new Chair of the ICMIF/Americas Board. Other members elected to the board included Lyne Giroux of Desjardins General Insurance (Canada) as Vice Chair; M.C. Porter of American Agricultural Insurance Company (USA) as Treasurer; and Andrés Elola of SURCO Seguros (Uruguay) as Secretary.

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