Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Latin American Association for Education in Reinsurance (or the LARG Group as it is often known) organised its 2020 Annual Meeting for the first time as a virtual conference. This was, says the Group’s Director Martha Julia de Marroquín, a real challenge given the high standards that normally characterise the event each year.
The LARG Group is made up of mutual and cooperative insurers from various countries in Latin America. All the Group’s members are also members of ICMIF. The Group was first formed in 2004 by just four ICMIF member organisations which wished to purchase their reinsurance collectively and since then the Group has grown considerably in numbers and impact. Every year the Group holds its Annual Meeting which include reinsurance training as well as numerous presentations from its members and external experts. Normally the various member organisations take turns to host the meeting but this was not possible in current circumstances so the whole event was transitioned to being held online.
Working together, the LARG Board of Directors, the Advisory Board and the Executive Management decided to deliver the event in separate sessions over the course of six separate dates in September, each with a duration of between two and four hours. Martha Julia reports that all the sessions were very well attended, with over 300 participants representing 27 institutions from 16 countries taking part.
The central theme of the event was The outlook and challenges for the insurance sector in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, which was highly topical to LARG members. As it is the case each year, the event was supported by the reinsurers who work closely with the Group and Willis Re, who each provided keynote speakers. The topics selected for the presentations were derived from the central theme as shown:
Business continuity in times of Covid-19: This consisted of a presentation followed by a panel, its content and discussions were driven by the situation that is being experienced worldwide.
Digital transformation: A session which gave rise to participants expanding their knowledge on this subject and assessing the level of digitalisation of their companies.
Marketing of insurance online and in social networks: Participants were able to reinforce their knowledge about marketing their products through virtual means.
Teleworking: A very illustrative presentation helped deepen the LARG members knowledge about the best ways that members had found to implement working from home for their employees. Something that most companies were forced to implement without any forward planning, due to the pandemic.
The teleworking presentation was preceded by an introduction based on the meeting’s central theme: The outlook and challenges for the insurance sector in the face of Covid-19 pandemic which included interesting information about the repercussions of the pandemic on the insurance sector, including the lines of business most affected by the drop in turnover.
SARS-CoV2/Covid-19 impact on insurance: this session focussed on the characteristics of the disease, the mechanisms of virus invasion and medical evidence, all of which generated great interest among participants.
Possible new cover ideas for Covid-19 and technical aspects to be evaluated: the presentation included a summary of what had happened to date as a result of the pandemic, including statistics, several repercussions on regional economic activity and some coverage ideas for COVID-19.
The event also included two working meetings, one to discuss the terms of negotiation of 2021-2022 reinsurance contracts, in which P&C and Life reinsurers participated in different sessions, as well as all the companies of the LARG Group that jointly negotiate their reinsurance contracts. The other meeting brought reinsurance professionals together to share the advances in the digitalisation processes that will benefit members because of the COVID – 19 pandemic.
Catherine Hock, Vice-President – International Relations, ICMIF, attended a number of the sessions and addressed the participants saying: “The question is not only whether the mutual and cooperative insurance sector can “react” to COVID, we have seen that it has risen to that challenge and continues to do so. The question is also to see how we can learn lessons from the pandemic, the impact on customers, on our businesses and how to be better prepared, build better products and provide better services in the future. The LARG Annual Meeting gives us the opportunity to share our experiences and best practices so that members can learn from one another and implement new ways of coping with the challenges of the pandemic.”
“The post-event surveys showed high scores given to all the activities; and, as usual, the topics were member-focused, and the interaction generated in each session was highly appreciated,” says Martha Julia de Marroquín.
Martha Julia concludes: “The collective feedback from the LARG Group confirmed a high level of satisfaction with the 2020 virtual annual meeting. The fact that it had the support of the members, the reinsurers and the Group’s broker Willis Re, even in these challenging times, allows us to validate our slogan WORKING TOGETHER WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE.