September 2014

Global trends explored at AIDA World Congress

by Michael Gill

Global trends in insurance law was the theme for AIDA's XIV World Congress on September 29 to October 2 at the European University of Rome.

More than 500 participants (including 13 Australians) gathered from 33 countries to discuss current insurance topics.


Major themes

The five major themes were arbitration; discrimination in insurance; online insurance; preventive measures; and transparency. Contributions were made from most jurisdictions around the world. The topics were some of the most significant areas of challenge for the industry at this time.

For each theme, a general reporter summarised the comparative global responses (137 responses from 37 countries) into one comprehensive report, which was then discussed by a panel of the world's leading insurance law experts. Samantha Traves, from Australia, who is a member of AIDA's Scientific Council, was the general reporter for the preventive measures theme. Her excellent report was well received, as was the two-hour program on the topic.

The other reporters and their themes were Prof Giovanna Volpe Putzolu, of Italy (transparency); Prof Piero Bernadini, of Italy (insurance & arbitration); Prof Samim Unan, of Turkey (online insurance); and Prof Birgit Kuschke, of South Africa (discrimination).

Australians featured highly in those presentations. Mark Radford had written an excellent response on transparency (click here to read his report). He was invited to be one of five panellists and gave a much appreciated summary from the Australian perspective.

Other Australians invited to participate in the panels were Chris Rodd (online insurance) and Ian Enright (discrimination in insurance). Their presentations were much appreciated.

Mark said many of the themes were important for Australia now. “Transparency is a significant issue in Australia and worldwide, indicating that, while different approaches are taken in other places, the core problems are the same," he said.


Working parties

AIDA's 13 working parties all met in Rome. Many people said the working party programs were the best ever.

Ian Enright delivered presentations at the reinsurance working party and a joint meeting of the working parties for distribution of insurance products; consumer protection and dispute resolution; and state supervision of insurance. In the latter meeting, his experience as reviewer of the Australian general insurance code of practice underscored his expertise on voluntary codes of practice.

Chris Rodd continued his contribution to the climate change working party, which covered four topics, climate change challenges, fracking, flooding, and agricultural insurances.

Civil liability working party deputy chair David McKenna covered the topic of payment of indemnification to a third party.

All working party meetings were well attended and many gained additional members.

Ian Enright said: "The working party meetings were truly excellent. They provided a unique opportunity not just to discuss some of the most important insurance topics in depth, but also drew on the experience of the world's leading experts in the field from a broad range of different jurisdictions and legal systems."


Asia Pacific regional meeting

The first formal meeting of delegates from Asia Pacific regional countries occurred in Rome. It was attended by 17 delegates from five countries.

Initially, all delegates got to know each other better. Then there were discussions about forming an organisation, future meetings, and encouraging new national chapters in the region. Japan’s Professor Keiji Habara led discussion on two important topics:

  • Risk financing techniques to cope with mega natural disasters under the circumstances of climate change by global warming.
  • Establishing an Asia-Pacific regional co-operation system for disaster rescue and research.


Social activities

Not surprisingly, the Italians arranged several social activities that only Rome could host. They included:

  • A welcome cocktail party at the European University of Rome
  • A visit to Capitoline Museum including cocktails
  • A scientific-cultural event, Forum of Augustus
  • A gala dinner at Villa Miani


Other meetings

As is usual at world congresses, there were meetings of the Presidential Council, the Executive and the General Assembly.

My term as AIDA president concluded and I am delighted Professor Jerome Kullmann, of France, has been elected the new president. I wish him every success for the term of his presidency.

I was also delighted that Chris Rodd was elected to the Presidential Council. I will remain an honorary president on the Executive and the Presidential Council. Chris and I both recognise that the Asian region, as a rapidly evolving insurance market, challenges AIDA to establish more national chapters in the region.

Chris is keen to continue creating and developing chapters in Asian and south-east Asia countries in particular. He is also keen to see a regional conference held and an Asian Regional Group created within AIDA.

I continue to encourage all AILA members to participate as much as they can in AIDA’s work. The benefits flow both ways.

Kerry-Anne Palzewski, a first-time attendee from Australia, said: "It was my first attendance at an AIDA event and, being the World Congress in Rome, it did not disappoint. I took a lot out of listening to various speakers, most of whom were industry experts in their native countries, during the plenary sessions and working parties.

“Hearing the different perspectives and approaches of various jurisdictions on hot topics affecting the global insurance industry was enlightening and insightful.

“I also found the social program to be one of the most important aspects. Hearing stories from other delegates of their experience in practising or working in insurance and comparing their experiences with my own were definitely highlights. I made many new friends and contacts with whom I will definitely keep in touch. Overall a great program delivered by exceptional speakers and an experience I will never forget.

“Hope to see you all in Rio in 2018."