AIRROC kicked off its first virtual conference with a welcome and introduction from our Executive Director, Carolyn Fahey. Carolyn spoke about the resiliency she has seen in our organization, and in our industry, during the past 6 months, culminating in the decision to go forward with our premier annual event in a new and exciting format. After a thank you to the Board of Directors and a preview of the features offered by the virtual platform, Carolyn introduced a video message from the Chair of the AIRROC Board, Bill Teich. Bill’s theme was adaptability in the face of the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic. Bill surveyed all the ways our organization has adapted, including moving our educations programs entirely online through 12 webinars, convening a virtual deal forum, and soliciting feedback to ensure continuous improvement. He noted that our member companies and professionals are adapting to the new environment just as quickly, as demonstrated by the strong and growing attendance at AIRROC’s virtual offerings. And as the surest sign of our industry’s ability to meet the challenges of the moment, Bill noted the steady pace of deals in the legacy space through the second quarter (12, representing over $1 billion in total liabilities), which Bill believes is prologue to a strong year-end. Bill closed with AIRROC’s Vision and Mission Statements.
Following the welcome and introduction, Carolyn introduced our distinguished Keynote Speaker – Jonathan Isherwood, Chief Executive Officer, Reinsurance Americas, Swiss Re. The theme of Jonathan’s presentation was the need for a healthy and resilient re/insurance market, which he defined as one based in the reality of prevailing market conditions. Some of these key conditions include (1) the steady increase in loss activity in recent years arising out of major insured events and mass torts, as well as secondary perils; (2) a challenging rate environment, leading to pressure on combined ratios to achieve desireable ROE; and (3) the continued low interest rate environment, which puts additional pressure on long-tail lines. Jonathan suggested that, while meeting these challenges, the industry should see Covid-19 as a “catalyst” – an inflection point and a chance to insist that transactions, active and legacy alike, reflect the prevailing market conditions and do not seek to apply outdated or unrealistic expectations. Mr. Isherwood also congratulated the Enstar organization for their recent legacy transaction in Oklahoma, the first IBT in the United States.