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IIS Global Insurance Forum, Singapore

In Focus: IDF Day at the IIS Global Insurance Forum


Mike Morrissey, President and CEO of the International Insurance Society

IIS Global Forum Logo


Each year since the mid-1960s the IIS has convened C-Suite life and nonlife insurance executives, scholars, regulators and advisors from around the world to discuss the most pressing industry issues.  In recent years, the event has grown to host 400+ delegates from more than 40 countries, in many global financial capitals. The IIS has an agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to host the Forum in Singapore every three years.

The 2019 Forum theme was “Insurance Reimagined: Global Issues – Asian Insights”.  It is well recognized that Asia is not only an exciting area in terms of population and economic growth, and thus a target-rich environment for insurers, but is also a hotbed of innovation and technology, offering new perspectives on key industry issues for insurers from any continent.Host Partners for the Forum were AIG, RGA and the IDF.  It is our belief that the mission and activities of the IDF should not be considered contained to the third day of the conference, but that IIS should promote the IDF, and also weave its resilience mission throughout the entire Forum.  We also had valuable sponsorship from Axis Capital, Aviva, MMC (as Mercer), Willis Towers Watson and EY among others.

The conference program featured sessions of particular interest to both property & casualty insurers and to life insurers, and several of universal appeal. Life-oriented sessions included a Principal Financial-led panel on pension and retirement savings developments in the three major population centers of Asia: China, India and Indonesia, as well as a Milliman-led presentation on the use of artificial intelligence in retirement planning products.

Several sessions addressed topics of interest to both life & health and property & casualty insurers.   The Institutes conducted a survey on behalf of the IIS called “What Keeps the C-Suite Up at Night”, and shared the results with the GIF delegation.   AM Best presented their new plan to explicitly include measures of innovation in the ratings process.  McKinsey assembled a panel to probe the factors driving success through Customer Experience programs.  Mercer (via Alex Moczarski’s helpful introduction) led a session on what the insurance workforce of the future will look like. A CEO panel called “Transformation of the Industry” discussed a range of key issues, including cyber risk, the digitization of the industry, the impact of climate change and other topics.  Albert Benchimol and Alex Moczarski were featured on this panel.   Brian Duperreault  spoke broadly on the state of the industry and offered his unique perspective on our industry’s most pressing challenges and opportunities, in the format of a “Fireside Chat” with Mike Morrissey.

One of the Global Insurance Forum highlights is always the awards dinner, at which the year’s inductee into the Insurance Hall of Fame is honored.  Michael Butt of Axis Capital was this year’s laureate, and although unable to attend due to illness, was ably represented by Albert Benchimol, who gave a moving tribute to Michael and sponsored the gala on behalf of Axis.                                      

Final Day of the Forum The third and final day of the Forum was devoted, as it has been in recent years, to the Insurance Development Forum and industry resilience initiatives.  As early as the 2012 Forum in Brazil, the IIS has been promoting the efforts of insurers to build a more resilient world through a full day of the conference.  This day has been focused on the IDF since its launch in 2016. 

This year’s IDF program began in dramatic fashion with keynotes related to “The Road to the Climate Summit and the Path Beyond”.  IDF Chairman Denis Duverne, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner and APRA Executive Board Member Geoff Summerhayes presented a compelling narrative to begin the day.

Leading insurance attorney Bill Marcoux then led a moderated interview with Denis Duverne and Achim Steiner, who were joined by Geneva Association Managing Director Jad Ariss, on how the IDF works to implement solutions in achieving our objectives.  Other morning sessions included “Disaster Risk Financing in Asia” led by Willis Towers Watson’s Augusto Hidalgo, a timely topic in the Southeast Asia venue, and “Insurance Disruption for Sustainable Development”, a session I led on how different kinds of industry organizations are presenting new methodologies to advance the cause.

Three concurrent lunch sessions were offered, to allow delegates to pursue topics of special interest to them.  One option was Investments, another was Law, Regulation and Insurance Policy, and the third was Risk Modelling.  All were well-attended and reported lively, interactive discussions.

Afternoon sessions offered a mix of global and Asia-focused sessions.  Andrea Keenan of AM Best led a discussion of the role of insurance in rebuilding economies after natural disasters, using research on Typhoon Haiyan as a relevant example.  Francis Bouchard of Zurich led a presentation on “Natural Catastrophe Mitigation and Resilience”.  There was also a panel discussion on the prospects for the development of the Asia-Pacific catastrophe bond market, which Julius Caesar Parrenas of Mizuho Bank led. 

Putting all the aforementioned presentations into context and offering insightful analysis and perspective, the IDF day heard closing keynotes from thought leaders Rowan Douglas, Chairman of the IDF Operating Committee, IDF Secretary General Ekhosuehi Iyahen, and IDF Chairman Denis Duverne. 

The IDF as an organization and the Global Insurance Forum as an event have developed a convening capability for a wide range of public and private sector resilience and sustainability efforts.  An increasingly diverse and inclusive gathering of  delegates has made Day 3 of the Forum a special event, never moreso than the well-orchestrated 2019 program in Singapore.

2020’s Global Insurance is set to take place in New York, on Monday 8th – Wednesday 10th June. Per tradition, the third day (Wednesday 10th) will be the Insurance Development Forum dedicated agenda. Please register your interest and find further details here.

For videos from the Insurance Development Forum please visit