One of the most discussed aspects of living through COVID-19 was the effect of lack of human contact.
We are, at our core, social creatures who need personal interaction with others – and most of this activity was sharply curtailed at the onset of the pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, the insurance sector seemed to thrive on industry meetings and get-togethers, where practitioners could catch up with colleagues, pitch their CVs to company CEOs and expand their personal network.
While China, and to a lesser extent Hong Kong, are still experiencing the strictest restrictions, most other parts of the Asia Pacific have loosened up a lot and this is reflecting the waking up of the meetings, conventions and exhibitions market.
In recent weeks Asia Insurance Review attended an InsurTech Australia conference and networking event in Fishburners in central Sydney which saw around 80 delegates including investors, consultants, accountants, tech firms as well as insurance industry professionals.
There was not a face mask to be seen – and seating was as it used to be before the onset of COVID-19, with no extra space between chairs.
The following evening saw the industry’s annual shindig, the Australia Insurance Industry Awards held at The Star in Sydney, with a capacity crowd of 750 – again with no masks in sights and no extra space between chairs.
While this was happening, meanwhile, the Asia Life Insurance Summit organised by Asia Insurance Review – our first in-person event since the pandemic – took off in Singapore.
While masks and social distancing were still very much in evidence, there is little doubt that the delegates were enjoying meeting up again almost as much as they were enjoying the on-stage sessions.
AIR followed up on this success with the Asia Nat CAT and Climate Change Conference at the end of September, again held in Singapore.
But before this there was Les Rendez-vous de Septembre held in Monte Carlo between 10-14 September where, under the balmy riviera skies, hundreds of the great and the good from the reinsurance sector around the globe got together to resume business as usual – party just a little – and start some very stark renewal discussions.
While the opening Sunday hinted at diminished turnout for this landmark event, by Monday it was like COVID hadn’t happened. There appeared to be no diminution of either enthusiasm or numbers for Monte Carlo – once the real agenda of the reinsurers present became evident (very substantial rate increases come 1/1), the remarkable attendance was easily explained.
Not far off on the horizon will be the Baden-Baden Reinsurance Meeting in late October – just a week before the Singapore International Reinsurance Conference (SIRC).
Many eyes in Asia Pacific and across the globe will be looking to the future - and the rapidly approaching SIRC – not to mention the Asia Insurance Industry Awards dinner that will be held on 31 October at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore.
It’s not likely that Asia Pacific (excluding China and Hong Kong) will be 100% back to normal this year in terms of social distancing and mask wearing – but the tide has certainly turned and life in the industry is very rapidly reverting back to the way it was before.
At AIR our hope is that near normality will be reached in time for our annual India Rendezvous in January, scheduled to be held in Mumbai. It is an event that has been sorely missed since the onset of COVID.
Asia Insurance Review