The China Rendezvous, once a mainstay in the Chinese insurance and reinsurance calendar, is making a comeback after a short break. This year’s rendezvous in Shanghai in early November marks a return to form as well as a celebration of a bright new insurance future.
The newly revived China Rendezvous has deep roots that go back almost 20 years to a time when the world seems to have been a much simpler place.
The inaugural China Rendezvous was held between 30 November and 1 December 2000 at the Peace Hotel in Shanghai with the theme ‘Meeting the Reinsurance Needs of China’s Growing Insurance Industry’. The keynote address was given by Lloyd’s of London chairman Max Taylor and the guest of honour was China Insurance Regulatory Commission chairman Ma Yong Wei.
The objective of the rendezvous was to showcase China’s insurance industry to the global insurance market and to provide the Chinese insurance companies with an opportunity to meet the foreign international insurance and reinsurance community.
Strength to strength
The inaugural rendezvous was such a success that it was held the following year in the same venue with the theme ‘China Insurance Market after WTO’.
In keeping with the overall theme, the keynote address was given by the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development insurance industry programme head Nigel Easton who spoke about ‘China’s Role In Helping the Insurance Industry of Asia’ while the official address was given by the Insurance Society of China chairman Madam He Jiesheng.
By the time the third rendezvous rolled around in 2002, the event had become a roaring success with strong support from Chinese officials from the industry with a total of 45 industry leaders on the event’s advisory council. The conference theme, perhaps predictably, was ‘Challenges in the Insurance Market One Year after Ascension to WTO’ while the event itself found itself being hosted in the Shangri-La Hotel in Dalian for the first time, supported by the Insurance Association of Dalian whose chairman Du Neng gave the welcome address.
The special international address was given by International Insurance Society president Patrick Kenny who spoke about the ‘International Community’s Expectation of China in the Insurance World’ while the keynote address was given by Partner Re member of the group executive committee Graham Dimmock who addressed ‘The International Reinsurer’s Role in Promoting the Development of the Chinese Market at a time of Global Uncertainty in Reinsurance Capacity’ – a theme that would resonate well in 2019.
The 4th China Rendezvous, held in 2003 in The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, took its theme as ‘Strategies and Solutions for China’s Dynamic Insurance Market’ where CIRC chairman Wu Ding Fu gave the official address.
By this stage in its development the China Rendezvous had become a platform to showcase China’s insurance market to the global insurance and reinsurance community and as the place where foreign companies including insurers, reinsurers, and brokers keen to do business with China, would meet the leading local players in the market to tap into the tremendous opportunities that China offered.
Growing up in Hangzhou
The original idea of the China Rendezvous was that it could be held in different parts of the country and so for the fifth meeting, in October 2004, the event was hosted in Hangzhou with the theme ‘Strategies to Strengthen the Chinese Market to Prepare for Full Liberalisation in 2005’.
CIRC deputy chairman Feng Xiaozeng gave the official address while the keynote address was given by GE ERC chairman, president and CEO Ron Pressman. What was equally noteworthy about this rendezvous was that it marked the first time that the Geneva Association presented a special insurance leaders’ panel on the international perspectives of insurance strategies for China. The Geneva Association is the international think-tank for the insurance industry.
As the years rolled on, the theme of the rendezvous continued to keep pace with the gradual opening up of the China market and the growth in interest and participation of foreign players – from ‘Meeting the Insurance Needs of the Innovative Fast-Growing China Market’ in 2005, ‘Managing the Reinsurance Needs of the Market in the New Era’ in 2006, ‘Back to Basics in Underwriting for Profit in a Fast-Growing Market’ in 2007, ‘Creating a Reinsurance Centre in China to Meet the Needs of the Dynamic Insurance Market’ in 2008 and ‘A Decade of Reinsurance in a Dynamic Market – Looking Back to Draw Strategic Lessons to Move Ahead’ in 2009 to round out the first decade.
Bringing it up to date
This year’s China Rendezvous has the theme ‘The Brave New Era of Reinsurance in China’ and will be held on 5-7 November in the Westin Bund Center Hotel in Shanghai.
The three day event will start with the opening cocktail in the evening of 5 November and then the next two days of conferencing in the morning and bilateral meetings in the afternoon for the next two days.
There will be high quality simultaneous translations at the conference to allow interactive discussions and debates.
To underscore the idea of new things happening in China, the focus will be on the role of insurance and reinsurance in the Belt and Road Initiative, the key to underwriting profitability, managing Nat CAT, cyber risks, regulatory issues, governance and compliance, risk management, technology and disruption wave, InsurTech, driverless cars and digital insurance. There will be special focused sessions on special reinsurance needs of the Chinese market; a CEO panel on being customer-centric and the Greater Bay Area. A