General Re board member Pasdika’s keynote speech delivered a rallying call to the 800 delegates

Arif Amiri, CEO of the DIFC Authority, officially launched the fifth Dubai World Insurance Congress 2022 (DWIC 2022) on 9 March, noting that the conference had attracted 800 delegates from over 50 countries. It is clear evidence of the appetite to once again meet face to face and testament to the relationship nature of the business.

For 2022 - having missed last year’s meeting due to lockdown constraints - the annual conference is being hosted at the Ritz Carlton DIFC, on the doorstep to one of the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), the Dubai International Financial Centre.

He was followed by keynote speaker, General Re board member Ulrich Pasdika, who told a packed audience that the six million Covid deaths over the past two years had exposed the lack of life insurance take up around the globe. 

There are still too many protection gaps, he noted. On natural disasters, he said Germany suffered devastating floods last year, with many affected uninsured. 

 “Of the 200,000 buildings destroyed by the German floods, less than 80% were insured against flood risk,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it is an obligation to do something about this protection gap.”

Pasdika also highlighted intangible risk as another major challenge, using a solar flare event as an example. In 1859 a geomagnetic storm, called the Carrington Event, knocked out telegraph systems across North America and Europe. 

The impact of the solar flare was so strong, in some cases telegraph operators got electric shocks. 

“If such an event happened in today’s world, with such a strong reliance on electricity, it would cause multi-trillion losess,” Pasdika said, adding that there would be widespread dispute coverage. 

Looking to the future, Pasdika concluded protection of earnings volatility would remain important, but less dominant. 

“Client focus will count more than ever,” he said.