First IUMI Conference on African soil a roaring success

This past September, marine and energy underwriters from across the globe arrived in Cape Town, fondly known as the Mother City, to discuss the current issues and challenges in our market. For the first time in 144 years our conference was held on the African continent and we would like to thank this year’s hosts – the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) – for their splendid organisation and for making this year’s event truly memorable.

The common theme was “Managing emerging risks and exposures – think the unthinkable” and it could not have been more apt given the current market environment. Our industry is facing a period of unpredictability, volatility and increased protectionism as well as new challenges such as digitalisation and autonomous shipping. Nat-cats are also creating large losses, hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 for example had a total insured offshore energy/marine loss of US$12.57bn, and last year’s hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria resulted in more than US$1bn in yacht losses.

Technical Committee workshops focused on cyber threats, container ship fires, piracy, places of refuge, risk accumulation, to name a few, drawing on their knowledge and expertise to find tangible solutions to upcoming challenges. But delegates also heard that there were opportunities to grasp if underwriters “think the unthinkable” and ensure clients are serviced to the highest standards. The impressive, world-class Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) was the perfect venue for the conference. With more than 540 delegates attending and a jam-packed programme there were good spirits all around, and to top it off we had the remarkable Table Mountain as our backdrop.

This year saw the election of our new President, Richard Turner (CEO of RSA Luxembourg), on the final day of the conference and delegates were delighted to welcome him to the team. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Richard’s predecessor, Dieter Berg, for all his hard work over the past four years. Dieter has been at the helm during a time of change at IUMI and his initiatives, dedication and drive have pushed IUMI forward.

As with all IUMI conferences it was not all work, plenty of “play” was had as well. The SAIA hosted the conference opening reception at the stunning Grand Africa Café & Beach. Located on the sea-front the Grand has magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean and Robben Island. Friends, old and new, sat back and enjoyed the view before the conference began the following day. The closing reception was at the amazing Castle of Good Hope, where delicious food was accompanied by local South African wine and fantastic live music.

Thank you again to the SAIA and everyone involved. IUMI conferences grow from strength to strength every year and that is down to the hard work of the organizing committees and the IUMI technical committees.  Our members and delegates make the conference and we hope to see you next year at the 2019 annual conference in Toronto, Canada (15-18 September 2019).