Leslie-Ann Giovnilli explains the workings of the ARC Congress.

Apart from the claims, which will surely follow, 2001 became the last underwriting year for many re/insurance companies, not least HIH, Royal & SunAlliance's Royal Re and Guildhall, as well as Copenhagen Re, which temporarily ceased underwriting and Hart Re. Some of these companies remain part of a live insurance operation group, such as Hart Re, owned by Hartford Insurance Group, and RSA's substantial ongoing insurance business. But with big names such as these joining the ranks of run-off companies is it not time for the wider market to understand the process of run-off?

The Association of Run-off Companies (ARC) has existed for almost four years and over this time has attempted to collate and present a coherent response to all matters run-off. The widely-held view that run-off meant `make no claims payments' has been one that a few maverick companies have been only too pleased to profligate. However, the members of ARC are professionally managed and commercially minded individuals that recognise that closure - and closure achieved in a competent manner - is the way forward if the London market is not to be seen as the bad debt capital of the re/insurance world.

Capital event
As part of the process of achieving closure of the run-off process, ARC members have set up an annual London Commutation Congress, to meet and discuss commercial means to an end. In this, the third year, the Congress returns to Gibson Hall in the City of London.

The congress, which takes place March 20, is preceded this year by Cavell's Singapore Rendez-vous, a new event in addition to Cavell's annual June event in Norwich, England. This new venture into Asia is welcomed as taking the news of commercial reality further afield. Unlike other ventures, which are necessary commercial considerations for the organiser, the ARC Congress is run on a cost-only basis for the benefit of its members. This allows member companies to gain access to a wide range of international companies for a considerably cheaper cost than the other options. It is thanks to the generous sponsorship of several ARC members of the event that cost savings can be passed along to all.

As the event is only one day long, presentations and talks are limited to maximise negotiation time. Nevertheless, this year the day will begin earlier than normal with a breakfast talk on negotiation techniques sponsored by Axiom. During the day delegates may see exhibitions of XLRAS 4 by BIM, RI3K's Commutation database and Michaelhouse's SLIP. All three systems add value to the company in run-off in the area of recovery and cash flow. A lunchtime buffet will be hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, including a debate on a contemporaneous market subject. Exhibiting during the day will be Witherby's. Appleton-Bamforth, the ARC website manager will be showing the new website and the database product that helps to make the association function as a virtual office. For booth-holders there will be a cocktail party following the closure of the day's events.

More than 40 companies will be hosting meetings in the booths over the course of the day, with several dozen more in attendance in the Garden Room. The venue will be staffed with a number of ARC/AMS co-ordinators and facsimile, telephone and message boards will be available for use by delegates. The co-ordinators are there to make your day easier and if an introduction or private space is required then please do see them.

For further details please visit our website www.aroc.org.uk where there is an on-line registration form for delegates and a list of those already registered.

By Leslie-Ann Giovnilli

Leslie-Ann Giovnilli is secretary of the Association of Run-Off Companies.