This time last year, my article for IUMI Eye featured the COVID-19 pandemic. Last December, many parts of the world were in some degree of lockdown and suffering various other restrictions. I expressed two sentiments at that moment: that there be the arrival of an effective suite of vaccines followed by a speedy end to the pandemic. In the event, we got a rapid deployment of some highly effectives vaccines, but sadly this in itself was not sufficient to trigger the end of the pandemic – which is still very much with us 12 months later.
It is against this backdrop that IUMI has attempted to operate as close to normality as was feasible. Sadly, and for the second year running, our main annual conference (originally destined for Seoul) was forced online. This was a regrettable but necessary decision – and I hope it will be the last time that we are compelled to hold our flagship event in such fashion. We are very hopeful that our delegates will be able to gather in Chicago next September, so please mark the date in your diary for a trip to Illinois and keep an eye on iumi2022.com.
For me personally, it was a welcome relief from the never-ending ‘Zoom’ calls to be able to attend my first ‘in-person’ conference event last month – the Global Maritime Forum. The shipping sector is grappling with options, ideas and decisions that need to be made in the coming years about decarbonisation, and this felt particularly pertinent given the COP26 conference in Glasgow was taking place at much the same time. I have said repeatedly that the marine insurance sector needs to involve itself in this debate, as it will fall to us to develop insurance solutions for the new generation of ships that will evolve from this process. We must be participants in the journey, not spectators. I am sure this will be an ongoing major feature of IUMI’s focus for years to come.
As the year 2021 turns into 2022, let us allow ourselves some renewed optimism that the pandemic will fade from view before too much longer. In the meantime, I wish you good health and happiness for the coming season, wherever you are in the world.