By Matthew Wilken, Deputy Global Head of Reinsurance
The annual event, which began in 1957, welcomes reinsurers, insurers, and brokers, as well as lawyers, bankers, and specialist journalists from 80 countries around the globe.
Over the course of the conference, these professionals will discuss market-related issues while simultaneously building lasting relationships. The event provides a one-of-a-kind occasion for attendees to form new partnerships and enhance business opportunities both nationally and internationally and to home in on a few key issues with strategic partners before the stress of the year-end renewals kicks in.
With 15 to 20 meetings a day, both formal and informal, there is no better place to learn what everyone in the industry is thinking. You develop a sense of market expectations and an understanding of how rates might change when renewal discussions get underway.
The topics of discussion are forever evolving, and peripheral issues have grown from side discussions to central concerns and ultimately now dominate the agenda. As an example, a decade ago no one was talking about digital or big data, and cyber was barely mentioned – now they are leading issues. Monte Carlo provides the forum for a global discussion.
As well as one-on-one and group interviews with journalists, there are also numerous roundtable discussions. Executives from various companies congregate around a table for frank conversations, resulting in dynamic niche discussions.
Each year before we go, we spend days arranging dozens of meetings, booking rooms, arranging hospitality events, and setting our budgets.
We go to meet and engage with the key people in the industry: capital providers, reinsurers, and brokers as well as the leading risk modellers, consulting firms, headhunters, accountants, actuaries, and other suppliers we rely on – to name a few.
Every year, we question whether the trip is worth all the time, investment, and organization we put into it. The truth is that it is a fantastic location and a hugely enjoyable event, although the schedule is punishing. But for business and for the maintenance of important relationships, Argo’s trip to Monte Carlo is vital—and time well spent.