AILA President's message
Highlights of a busy year
The year 2017 has been incredibly busy for AILA and our branches, members, friends and volunteers.
- The Asia Pacific Insurance Conference in Singapore on 18-20 October. It was our inaugural regional conference and we were delighted. More than 280 delegates (swelling to more than 350 for the gala dinner) attended the three-day event hearing from global leaders in their fields. It was also an amazing opportunity to broaden networks. An enormous amount of work went into the planning and I thank our committee and conference organiser DG Global.
- We reinvigorated the Annual General Insurance Law Reviews which ran in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in early 2017. The flagship events provided an incredible deep dive into all the important insurance law cases heard in the preceding 12 months. Presenters put in a lot of work to develop the case list and the case notes. In 2018 we will expand the branches running the reviews to include Perth and Hobart.
- The Ron Shorter Public Speaking Award continues to grow in awareness and participation. It is now a truly national competition and much credit goes to Immediate Past President Sue Vidler for her drive and enthusiasm in making the competition all it is. It is an example of how AILA "reinvests" in its members and the insurance industry generally. Thanks also to our generous sponsors, CBP and Unisearch, for their significant contributions.
- AILA is the insurance law association and as such should be comprehensive in its offering to all sectors of insurance. So we are very pleased with the LIFE@AILA initiative led by Stanley Drummond and his active volunteers. They have produced events focused on the life sector for packed-out audiences and more are planned for 2018.
- Our desire to use technology to broaden our audience and bring significant events to a wider audience was reflected in 2017 when we used the support of HWL Ebsworth to host a nationwide video conference for the 2017 Geoff Masel Memorial Lecture. NSW Court of Appeal President Justice Margaret Beazley delivered her lecture, The fundamentals of insurance law: Enduring constants in the winds of change. A very apt topic for these times of significant change, innovation and disruption. (See the lead story in this issue for an edited version of her presentation.)
- We are extremely proud of all the great things the AILA Young Professionals are doing. The national YP subcommittee produced more than 20 YP events in 2017. YPs are at the heart of our future so thanks to the subcommittee, including leaders Jessica Beard and Dan Robinson.
So if you thought 2017 was a busy and exciting year, wait for 2018. It is AILA's 35th birthday and the celebrations will be loud and long. Go to aila.com.au for full background on our history but we claim our birth date as 9 August 1983 because it was when AILA's original constitution was adopted.
Some exciting events planned for 2018 include:
- The annual conference is in Perth on 31 October to 2 November. If you haven't been to Perth in the last few years I encourage you to use the conference as an "excuse" to get there. The city has undergone significant change over the past five years and is a vibrant, attractive world-class city. The program and social events will be as good if not better than Singapore.
- AILA is a member of AIDA, the international insurance law association, which is hosting its 15th World Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 10-13 October. Anyone who attended the working party sessions in Singapore will tell you how valuable the seminars and educational content are, plus you have the ability to meet the world insurance market in a global city.
- The Victorian Branch is rolling out a mentoring program in early 2018 and we wait with great anticipation to see how this goes.
- The Annual General Insurance Law Reviews will be in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Perth with Adelaide running a similar content. It is an unrivalled opportunity to brush up your knowledge on all important insurance cases.
- AILA will present prizes in each state to the top students studying insurance law. This initiative is another example of our support for future insurance industry leaders.
ASIC PI review
In other news, an ASIC review has found most small Australian financial services licensees' professional indemnity (PI) cover meets regulatory requirements. The review focused on the adequacy of small licensees' defence, fraud and dishonesty covers. It followed a December 2015 report that found adequate PI cover might not be available to all small AFS licensees.
A review of 56 licensees found only three did not have PI insurance that complied with Regulatory guide 126, Compensation and insurance arrangements for AFS licensees. ASIC said the three had since improved their cover.
No ban for PE cladding
Australia's state, territory and federal building ministers will not implement a ban on the sale or import of aluminium cladding products with polyethylene (PE) cores.
When the ministers met in Brisbane in October they considered a Senate committee report that recommended a ban. The committee is conducting a broader inquiry into non-confirming building products but, after London's Grenfell fire, was asked to compile an interim report that specifically addressed aluminium composite panels (ACP), some of which have PE cores.
In the interim report, released in late September, the committee recommended the Federal Government implement a total ban on the import, sale and use of PE-core ACP urgently. But the ministers disagreed. In a joint communiqué after their meeting, they said state and territory laws and those governments' existing powers could stop PE-core ACP being used in buildings of more than two storeys until the governments were satisfied manufacturers, importers and the building industry could comply with a new standard test for fire-retardant cladding products to be deemed "reasonable" for use in high-rise buildings.
This issue is likely to have ramifications for high-rise buildings' insurers.
Justice Daubney wins insurance law prize
This year’s prestigious AILA insurance law prize has been presented to Justice Martin Daubney, of the Queensland Supreme Court.
The annual award recognises someone who has made a substantial contribution to the insurance industry or insurance law.
Justice Daubney was appointed to the Queensland Supreme Court in July 2007. Before that, he was a senior counsel and had an extensive litigation and mediation practice, which included insurance issues. He was a leading mediator for insurance disputes of all kinds.
Justice Daubney has been very supportive of AILA since his appointment to the bench and regularly involved in AILA events. In 2016, he presented the Geoff Masel Memorial Lecture, in 2014 he chaired a full day session of the National Conference on Hamilton Island, and in 2017 was part of the judging panel for the Queensland Ron Shorter Awards final.
Congratulations to Justice Daubney, a very worthy recipient on the AILA insurance law prize.
The inaugural AILA insurance law prize was presented in 1995 to Geoff Masel.
Justice Daubney’s award was presented by Queensland President Melanie Quixley (pictured) during Qld’s final lunch and seminar, The Cladding Crisis, on 29 November 2017.
As this is the final issue of Resolve for 2017, best wishes for the festive season. A massive thank you to all AILA's volunteers and sponsors – we could not do anything like the 80 events we run annually without you.
Many thanks, too, to Vickie and Liz in AILA HQ.
For anyone reading this who is not an AILA member, I encourage you to join. It makes financial sense and will be a major career benefit.