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A gathering of insurance experts

(Article published in the Apr 20,2011 issue of Manila Standard Today)  

The “must-attend” event for practitioners in the non-life insurance industry of the country fittingly comes this year as soon as business returns to work after the Easter holidays.  The 8th Philippine Non-Life Insurance Summit will be held next week, on 27 April 2011, at the InterContinental Hotel in Makati City, starting with registration at 7:30 in the morning and closing ceremonies expected to end at 6:15 in the evening.  The theme of the gathering is “Unexpected New Risk Exposures Plus An Enhanced Global Regulatory Environment - A Challenge to the Insurance Industry.”

Organized by Insurance Philippines, the summit’s schedule belies the age of the overall chairman, Reynaldo A. De Dios,  who hits the mid-80s this year; many a much younger man would find the staccato tempo very challenging.  He will call the Summit to order, if I know him, exactly at 8:30 and immediately turn over the floor to the morning chairman, Ramon Dimacali, President and CEO of Federal Phoenix Assurance Co., Inc. When Mr. Dimacali was chairman of the Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Association (PIRA), he championed the use of technology to authenticate real time motor vehicle third party liability cover to protect the assured, ensure genuine policies and help collect taxes.

The Guest speaker of the Summit is Hon. Emmanuel Dooc, the Insurance Commissioner, who may be new to the office but certainly not new to the industry. He joined Philamlife in 1985; moved to the Asia-based American International three years later, and then rejoined Philamlife in 1996 from where he was conscripted to the public service by P-Noy.
 










     

The state of the economy in general, from 2011 Q1 figures, will be subject of Dr. Bernardo Villegas, the multi-awarded member of the academe and outstanding public servant, particularly as member of the Constitutional Commission of 1986, during the tenure of President Corazon Aquino.  He will be followed by Mr. Pedro Benedicto, Jr., President of Republic Surety and Insurance Co., Inc. and current chairman of PIRA.  Mr. Benedicto will give “A Stochastic Review and Simulated Outlook of the Non-life Industry in the Philippines” which exposition Mr. Armando Malabanan, executive vice president and COO of the National Reinsurance Corporation of the Philippines, will comment on.

Thereafter, the Summit focuses on specific risks facing the industry.  The first risk is climate change, from the Philippine perspective, which will be dealt with by Ms. Susan R. Espinueva, chief of the Hydrometeorology Division of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

Thereafter, discussion shifts to change of another kind: new regulatory issuances. Mr. Clarence Young, flying in from his base in Hong Kong from where he overseas Swiss Re’s business in Southeast Asia, India, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, will talk on the difficult task of “Innovating in the Face of a Changing Regulatory and Risk Landscape.”  How the challenging environment impacts on the task of rating agencies, to be discussed by London-based Dr. Roger Sellek, CEO of A.M. Best for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific Region, caps the morning sessions.

The afternoon of the Summit will be chaired by Hermina Jacinto, a management consultant who has spent more than 35 years mostly in the non-life insurance industry.  First of the speakers is Dr. Suzane Corona, who heads the natural perils division at Asia Capital Reinsurance where the Asia Catastrophe Pool is managed.  She will tackle the question, “Can We Manage Catastrophes?”  I, for one, would want to hear her answer, incompletely informed as I am on just exactly how prepared (or unprepared) our country is to handle catastrophes and, worse which is likely, combinations thereof.

The current mantra often recited in response to increased risk is “increased capital” to fund very quickly disaster requirements.  Capital may be there, but it cannot be locked-up in illiquidity.  Mr. Ronald T. Kozlowski will address the effect, or as he puts it, of the “fallout” of increased solvency regulation.  Mr. Kozlowski, from his base in Hong Kong as director of General Insurance Risk Consulting Asia, is helping the Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt develop non-life practice in Asia after their merger in 2009.

Also driven by regulatory concerns, Lucy L Chan, partner of SGV (Ernst & Young) handling its assurance and advisory services division, will deal on the exposure draft on International Financial Reporting Standard 4 Phase II, on insurance contracts.  Among many issues, the impact of the proposed reporting standard, particularly the valuation of the contracts, would be discussed.

Guests, I suggest, ought not consume too much coffee during the ensuing break since the next speaker Mr. Imran Bin Ashari who is an engineering specialist with FM Global’s Asia Operations will not lack in exciting stimulants.  He would talk about minimizing the risk of high rise buildings, using his familiarity with our neighbors Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan and Uzbekistan. 

He will be followed by David O'Gorman who will deal with the combination of Dynamic Financial Analysis (DFA) and Risk Management in an Risk-Based Capital Environment.  Mr. O'Gorman, who comes with more than 12 years of experience in the insurance and reinsurance industry,   is a SVP at Ultimate Risk Solutions.

Still on the confluence of diverse elements, Mr. Gregory D. Nelson, who is SVP of a limited liability company in the US known as U.S. Re Securities, will deal with the “Intersection of US/Bermuda Reinsurance, M&A and Capital Market Activities with Asia Markets”.  To comment on his presentation will be Adi-Richard Hazan, who work in Pretoria, South Africa, as a director at Catalytics Asia, Xtremeloss Solutions in South Africa and chief technical officer of James-Brennan & Associates Actuarial Consultants in London.    Mr. Hazan is an auto-didact who sold his first commercial software at the age of 13.

And closing just as promptly as it began, the Summit will have its closing ceremonies from 6:00 pm to 6:15 pm, giving enough time for speakers and audience to interact amongst themselves in the relaxed atmosphere of Manila’s sunset.

     

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