This year's Global Re TV at the Rendez-Vous de Septembre in Monte Carlo promises to be even bigger than last year.
It is widely acknowledged in the reinsurance community that the Rendez-Vous de Septembre is the largest annual gathering of the industry. Delegates attend from all over the world; as well as the well-established markets of US, Europe and Bermuda, last year's participants attended from Albania to Yugoslavia, taking in the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, Togo and South Korea on the way. Such an international mix of practitioners is unparalleled and truly reflects the global nature of the reinsurance business.
At the same time, though, the very nature of the Rendez-Vous often means that few delegates manage to see - or hear - some of the people they hope to encounter during their visit to Monte Carlo. With about 2,500 individuals participating in the event, and more than a handful staying in Monaco concurrent with the gathering, it is nigh on impossible to even catch a glimpse of people among the crowds milling about the Café de Paris or in the plethora of cocktail parties.
One of the problems of the Rendez-Vous is also its greatest strength. Rather than being a traditional conference, with plenary and breakout sessions, and after-lunch lulls in a darkened conference hall, the Rendez-Vous offers the opportunity to meet. Coffee at 10.00am at the Café de Paris (along with several hundred other Rendez-Vousers); a meeting at 3.00pm in a suite at the Grand Hotel; dinner at 8.00pm at the St Benoit; drinks at midnight at Sasse Café. These are the bare bone agendas of the delegates to the Rendez-Vous (though add in many more coffee appointments and several cocktail parties each day). So although 2,500 reinsurers, cedants brokers, lawyers, consultants, actuaries, accountants, journalists, technology vendors and other assorted service providers are milling round in the same small principality, in practice it is quite possible to meet only a few dozen during the course of the event.
This is where GRTV steps in. Although it cannot promise to offer delegates access to everyone at the Rendez-Vous, what it can offer is a snapshot of the view of those heading the industry. Sponsored by XL Re, GRTV aims to give delegates an insight into what the leading lights of the reinsurance community are seeing as the major issues of the day. Last year - the first year that GRTV broadcast at the Rendez-Vous - delegates staying in the main hotels in Monte Carlo could tune into a dedicated TV channel and watch interviews with the likes of Henry Keeling, Evan Greenberg, Paul Ingrey, Dennis Mahoney and Sax Riley. This year, the roster of the great and good will be added to with on the street vox pops, on the sofa discussions, news items on product launches and presentations taking place during the Rendez-Vous, and a daily news round-up. Broadcasting from Sunday to Wednesday inclusive, each day's programme will play from early morning for the best part of 24 hours, when the following day's programme will then be screened. Anchored by Peter Morgan, who spent many year's as the BBC's business correspondent, the programmes promise to be news-led, lively and, from time-to-time, tongue in cheek. For those unable to attend the Rendez-Vous, each of the four one-hour programmes will be available to view at www.globalreinsurance.tv from the end of the Rendez-Vous until the end of 2003.
Lights, camera, action
The GRTV cameras will be at many of the cocktail parties, showing the lighter side of the Rendez-Vous, but the programme will also be tackling the major issues facing the industry such as the power of the rating agencies, the threat of reinsurance recoveries failing, and the future for long-tail liability. It will look at the predictions made last year, and see how accurate the industry is in foreseeing its own future. It will look at the changed shape of the industry over the year, and ask about the challenges of the future. But most of all, it will provide the industry with an opportunity to share views and opinions about what is probably the only truly global business in the world.