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AILA President’s message – March 2022

By Cameron Roberts
AILA seeks entries for Ron Shorter Award
The annual Ron Shorter Awards are now in full swing with entries open and the finals scheduled for 2 August.
Unfortunately, the continued Covid-19 pandemic means virtual instead of face-to-face events for the awards, but we’re learning to persevere with the virus.
The Ron Shorter Award, established in 2012, and is a competition to assist young insurance industry professionals to develop public speaking skills.
Participants also benefit by raising their profiles, speaking publicly on an insurance topic of their choice, and meeting industry peers and luminaries.
The award was revamped in 2021 to meet the increasing demand for online presentation skills, where contemporary presenters are expected to hold an audience, have gravitas and influence stakeholders while in front of a webcam. AILA has teamed up with the Australian Institute of Management to provide new training opportunities for YPs.
The award honours long-time AILA supporter Ron Shorter, who was Practice Manager at Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers in Sydney until his death in 2012. Ron inspired and mentored many YPs. He recognised that the need to speak confidently in public was a vital skill for insurance professionals wanting to advance their careers. 
Gill Award to run in 2022
Later in the year, AILA will seek submissions for its prestigious Gill Award, which honours an AILA founder, Michael Gill.
The award is presented to an applicant who submits the best paper on a topic on which AIDA has a working party. 
The AIDA working parties are:
  • Accumulation of claims and subrogation
  • Climate change
  • Reinsurance Civil liability insurance
  • Consumer protection and dispute resolution
  • Marine insurance
  • Credit insurance and surety
  • Motor insurance
  • Personal insurance and pensions
  • New technologies
  • Distribution of insurance products
  • State supervision and insurance
The award enables applicants, who must be AILA members and Australian residents, to showcase their knowledge of emerging insurance trends and markets and/or insurance law.
Watch your inbox for an email notification when applications open.
The judges will consider entrants’ depth of research conducted to support their conclusions; engagement with and understanding of their chosen topic; clarity of thought; the topic’s purpose and commercial application; and the quality of the written and verbal presentations.
The award, established in 2019, recognises Michael Gill’s enormous contribution to AILA and AIDA since 1983.   
Michael is an AIDA past president; former chair of the National Insurance Brokers’ Association code compliance committee; a former partner and chair of DLA Piper, where he remains a consultant; and has served AILA at many levels, including as its inaugural president. He is an AILA life member.
Sydney to host National Conference
At this stage, we’re still planning the 2022 National Conference in Sydney on 10-12 August as a face-to-face event. 
The venues are Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, as the main conference and welcome reception venue and Luna Park as the showcase conference dinner venue.
As the situation develops with Covid-19, we’ll keep you informed of how our plans are looking.
Climate change tops IUA survey
The top challenge currently facing London market companies is climate risk, a new survey by the International Underwriting Association has revealed.
In a survey of members, IUA recorded 27% of respondents mentioned climate change and wider environmental, social and governance issues when asked about the top three challenges facing their companies. The second most popular answer was regulatory change (mentioned by 22%) and third was challenges raised by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly a shift to remote working (17%).
An interesting result, given Covid-19 is still with us, despite our fervent hopes back in 2020 that it would be a relatively short-lived problem. 
Cyber insurance need reinforced
The need for cyber insurance has strengthened with many European ports hit by cyber attacks.
Global supply chains are already impacted by border-closure delays and this is another blow to the embattled shipping industry.
We are reaching the stage where all business entities need to consider cyber insurance as an essential in their suite of insurance products.
Many insurers are likely to reword their property policies in light of a US Court ruling that pharmaceutical giant Merck could claim on its property policy for damages caused by a NotPetya malware attack in 2017.
Initially Merck’s claim for $US1.4 billion in losses was denied on the grounds NotPetya was an act of cyberwar. Merck sued its insurers and, in January, Judge Thomas J Walsh found the hostile or warlike acts exclusion in Merck’s property policy did not apply to the cyber attack.
The judge was critical of insurers for failing to change the language of their exemption to reasonably alert insureds they did not intend to cover cyber attacks in their property policies.
There’s a familiar ring to his words?
ICA proposes greater ASIC powers
It is interesting to see that the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has asked that the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) be given similar powers to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for test cases.
The FCA brought the BI test case in the UK under the Financial Markets Test Case
Scheme, which enables FCA to bring a claim raising important issues for financial markets to be determined in a test case, with no need for a specific dispute between the parties, where authoritative legal guidance is needed.
ICA, in a submission on the Financial Regulator Assessment Authority’s first review of ASIC’s effectiveness and capability, said such a scheme would be preferable to the process used in Australia for the BI test cases, which followed Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) rules.
AFCA cannot initiate its own test case, it merely had to consent to the case, but was not involved in running the case or the appeals. ICA suggested “ASIC is better placed to bring a test case in the same way FCA can”.
Food for thought.


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1300 699 140 office@aila.com.au



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