Change the game
The European Insurance Forum (EIF) is Ireland’s flagship international reinsurance and insurance event that has been in the calendar of insurance executives since 1999. The conference has built a reputation for considering the strategic trends and challenges affecting the reinsurance and captive industry. It is Dublin’s opportunity to bring together local industry executives, leading international speakers including global industry experts, thought leaders and change makers, to debate and consider how our industry is positioned for the future. This year will be no different. At the conference, speakers, exhibitors and participants will descend on Croke Park, an iconic Irish sporting venue, to share their thoughts on the strategic topics of the day under this year’s conference theme ‘Change the Game’.

Our industry challenges, which are forcing us to re-examine some of our business fundamentals, include the impact of low yield investments, changing international taxation, base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), Brexit and geopolitical uncertainty and of course an ever evolving regulatory framework. EIF gives executives time to consider the path to the future and share ideas and experiences.

Keynote speakers

Eoghan Murphy, Irish minister of state at the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, will explain IFS2020, the ambitious strategy and action plan for Ireland’s international insurance and financial services sector. The Irish government’s strategy aims to to ensure Ireland continues to compete on the world stage and has the skills and infrastructure to be a domicile of choice for financial services organisations—whether that’s start-ups looking to build a business or companies looking to avail of freedom of services (FOS) and freedom of establishment (FOE) to write cross-border business in the EU from an Irish base.

The conference will also feature Denis Kessler, chairman of the board of directors and CEO of SCOR SE. We are thrilled to have Kessler whose reputation and track record position him as one of our industry’s global leaders. We have invited award-winning British journalist, broadcaster and author Paul Mason to give us his insights on what drives current political trends of nationalism and populism in the US, UK and Europe. He will look, slice by slice, at the demographic layer cake that has emerged in recent elections and asks, for the eurozone and the UK—where will the next five years lead?

The low yield world: How well is the industry coping?

Low long-term investment returns for ‘safe investments’ have been around for close to a decade now and, in Europe, the European Central Bank may keep yields low for some time to come. With a panel including an investment manager, a retail banker, an annuity provider and a rating agency, we should be able to cover all aspects of this dilemma.

International taxation

Where to start? The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has rolled out its BEPS plan, the EU is still tinkering with the common corporate tax base, the UK’s tax strategy is likely to be affected by Brexit, and the Trump administration has announced changes in US tax rules and lower tax rates. The panel’s tax practitioners will attempt to make sense of it all.

Innovation and technology

Can we distinguish the hype from real industry trends? How can we spot the game changers and how can we become game changers ourselves? The answers to these questions may well determine the survival of your company.

Remember Sony’s Betamax video standard? It was technically superior, but the VHS standard won nevertheless. Or more recently, BlackBerry and Nokia handsets have become obsolete as these once leading manufacturers did not keep up with the smartphone trend. Investing in relevant technology and anticipating consumer and industry trends are not a luxury but essential to thrive and be successful. Technological innovation brings significant efficiencies but also new risks. Captives can and should play an active role in managing and financing technology risks.

Brexit

The impact on the shape of Brexit is uncertain, except that regulators want companies to prepare, and sooner rather than later. The Bank of England has written to UK financial services firms asking them to send a summary of their contingency plans for Brexit to the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) by July. The PRA believes planning is “uneven”, and “plans are not being sufficiently tested against the most adverse potential outcomes”.

Sam Woods, chief executive of the PRA, said it expects the industry to undertake “appropriate contingency planning” for Brexit and send the PRA written confirmation that management has considered contingency plans by July this year, along with a short summary of these plans and assurance that they address a wide range of scenarios.

The PRA will use the responses in its own planning and will share the information with the Financial Conduct Authority. While this concerns the UK only we can expect EU regulators to request similar planning for companies with business in the UK which will be affected by Brexit. Captives will not be immune to Brexit-related changes and captive owners will need to be well prepared.

Domestic and international outlook in the age of ultra-regulation

Gerry Cross, the Irish Central Bank’s director of policy and risk, will address the conference and explain the Central Bank of Ireland’s approach to insurance regulation and current priorities regarding supervision.

Cross will also join international speakers from the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, the US and international industry, in a panel session to discuss international regulatory cooperation, coordination and harmonisation, the likely future of Solvency II in an autonomous UK, and the announced roll-back of the Dodd-Frank Act in the US.
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