This week, over 400 leaders from the global mutual and cooperative insurance sector will meet in Rome (Italy) for the ICMIF Centenary Conference.
Founded in Rome in 1922, ICMIF is the global association for cooperative and mutual insurers. As a membership organisation, the Federation’s mission is to help its member companies achieve their strategic goals and sustainably grow in their local markets. The ICMIF Centenary Conference will be the largest global gathering of mutual and cooperative insurance leaders – with delegates from more than 139 organisations across 41 countries due to join this week’s event in Rome (25-28 October), hosted by the Unipol Group, one of the Federation’s founding members.
The global mutual and cooperative insurance sector has grown by 39.0% since 2007, exceeding the total worldwide insurance market growth (27.1%) by 11.9 percentage points, and has seen the share it holds of the total insurance market increase from 24.0% to 26.3%. The latest research from ICMIF forecasts 2021 figures showing the strongest growth the sector has experienced in ten years.
This performance is mirrored across the ICMIF membership, where, last year, over 70% of ICMIF members outperformed their local market’s annual growth. Today, ICMIF members represent USD 250 billion in premium income and over USD 2 trillion in held assets. ICMIF’s membership, comprising 197 organisations across 60 countries, serves over 350 million members/policyholders and employs over 226 thousand people.
The theme of the ICMIF Centenary Conference is Leading with purpose. More than 50 speakers will share insights into the trends that are shaping the future of the insurance industry across the three days of plenary sessions, breakout discussions and networking opportunities, that will focus on three key areas: purpose-led strategies, sustainability and business transformation.
The ICMIF Centenary Conference will open with addresses by Hilde Vernaillen, Chair, ICMIF and Chair of the Management Committee, P&V Group (Belgium); Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive, ICMIF; and Carlo Cimbri, Chairman of host company, the Unipol Group (Italy), will welcome the record number of delegates to the event.
Keynote presentations from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) on the future challenges for the world and what mutual/cooperative insurers can do to help will feature Ulrika Modéer, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).
Speaking about ICMIF, its centenary and the conference this week, Hilde Vernaillen spoke about her organisation P&V’s pivotal role in creating what is now a global network of 200 member companies and why ICMIF’s purpose is just as important today as it was more than 100 years ago.
“Joseph Lemaire, the then CEO of la Prévoyance Sociale (now known as P&V) in Belgium, had a vision to create a platform where purpose-driven insurers – cooperatives and mutuals – could share their strategies and ideas in a non-competitive environment. He brought together five organisations including those now known as Folksam (Sweden), Unipol (Italy), Achmea (Netherlands) and together they agreed to share knowledge, ideas and become a support for one another as inspirational leaders who wanted to use insurance to do good for the communities they served.”
Ms Vernaillen continued, “Fast forward 100 years, and that vision and purpose remains as true today. ICMIF’s members have collectively achieved so much for the insurance sector through their willingness to share strategies and support each other and by focusing on the long-term needs of the people they serve, whether they are employees, communities or strategic partners and this is what we will see and benefit from this week at the Centenary Conference.”
Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive, ICMIF said: “ICMIF members make up a unique, trusted network of likeminded people and organisations that are willing to support each other in defining points of difference and collaborating on opportunities where we can make meaningful impact. The global ICMIF network creates the opportunity to help maintain resilience in our organisations and our Centenary Conference this week will enable us to share how our members are leading in the areas of being purpose-led, sustainable and business transformation.
“The Centenary Conference will allow us to amplify our member organisations’ messages to other members and to the rest of the world. We will also be launching our new strategy proposition for the next four years that will allow members to have more access than ever to evidence supporting the purpose-led model. During the next four years, there will be more opportunities to engage; more opportunities to challenge our thinking; and more opportunities to transform our businesses,” Tarbuck concluded.
About the ICMIF and UNDP partnership
Recognising that the cooperative/mutual insurance sector is critical to the delivery of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and ICMIF formed a partnership in 2019 that aims to deepen their collaboration through a number of inter-related elements, including inclusive insurance (microinsurance) and responsible investing.
ICMIF has led the way for several years in connecting the cooperative/mutual insurance sector to sustainable, socio-economic development which supports a number of the SDGs. Some ICMIF members have already placed the SDGs at the centre of their business strategies, while other ICMIF members have expressed their wishes to further increase their commitment to the Goals. There is potential across the entire ICMIF membership to contribute even more to the SDGs, building on the work members undertake, which aligns with the UNDP’s mission. The partnership between ICMIF and the UNDP aims to support these objectives.
About the ICMIF and UNDRR partnership
In November 2019, ICMIF and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) began a multi-year collaboration to help address the urgent challenge of reducing disaster risks in the midst of an expanding and intensifying global risk landscape. Specifically, the collaboration aims to clarify the practical aspects of enabling a shift within the insurance industry from a focus on providing risk transfer products and services as a means to protect the insured from disaster risks, to an emphasis on prevention through disaster risk reduction (DRR) incentives, awareness, capacity and financing. With a member-driven operating model, the cooperative and mutual insurance sector is uniquely positioned to take a lead in charting a practical path from risk protection to prevention.
About the Unipol Group
Unipol is one of the biggest insurance groups in Europe and the leading company in Italy in the non-life insurance sector, (especially in the MV and health businesses), with total premiums of €13.3bn, of which €7.9bn in non-life and €5.4bn in life (2021 figures). Unipol adopts an integrated offer strategy and covers the entire range of insurance and financial products, operating primarily through the subsidiary UnipolSai Assicurazioni. The Group is also active in direct MV insurance (Linear Assicurazioni), transport and aviation insurance (Siat), health insurance (UniSalute), supplementary pensions and it also covers the bancassurance channel (Arca Vita, Arca Assicurazioni and Incontra). It also manages significant diversified assets in the debt collection (UnipolReC), real estate, hotel (Gruppo UNA), medical-healthcare and agricultural (Tenute del Cerro) sectors.