Q&A with Marc Haushofer, SRA chairman and honorary advisor to the organising committee for the 16th Singapore International Reinsurance Conference (SIRC)

How many registered delegates are you expecting to attend in 2019?

Corporate Photo - MARC_HAUSHOFER

Since the 14th SIRC in 2017, the Conference has attracted close to 1,000 registered delegates from 50 countries. In addition, we have another 1,000 to 1,500 visitors who come to the Conference venue for bilateral meetings and private events organised by our participating companies. This year, we expect registered delegate numbers to be similar if not slightly higher than previous years.

Can attendees expect anything different at this year’s event?

Instead of starting the Conference Programme with a Fireside Chat, this year we start with an Opening Keynote by an industry “outsider” – an experienced investor in the InsurTech space – sharing his insights on the industry. He will then engage in a Deep Dialogue with an industry veteran, which would hopefully generate enthralling insights and unbridled exchange on the sustainability of the current business model.

What do you anticipate to be the main theme(s) of discussions at the 16th SIRC?

The theme for the 16th SIRC – “Winds of Change” – describes the pressing issues that the (re)insurance industry faces – the increasing frequency of extreme weather events caused by climate change; industry disruption and digital transformation manifested by the many Insurtech initiatives; and the sustainability of the insurance/reinsurance business model as operating margins narrow.

Linked to climate change, there are also sub-themes of Sustainability, Resilience as the industry has to tackle the issue of the Protection Gap and how the industry can devise innovative solutions to reach out to the unserved and underserved communities that are often the worst affected by the impact of climate change.

What do wider macroeconomic events in the region mean for Singapore’s role as Asia Pacific’s international reinsurance hub?

Singapore’s position as an international reinsurance hub is not compromised by the prevailing geo-political and trade tensions felt across the Asia Pacific region.

Notwithstanding the external headwinds that Singapore will face owing to the wider macroeconomic issues, Singapore will continue to be an attractive hub because of its many attributes – stable, forward-looking government policies and regulations; strong legal system; superior infrastructure; efficient communications; and a critical mass of market players.

Hence, as long as Asia Pacific continues to be the world’s growth engine, Singapore will remain an important international financial/(re)insurance hub.