GR TV's second outing at the Rendez-Vous de Septembre proved a resounding success.
Every good conference has corresponding media support, and the Rendez-Vous de Septembre is no exception to this. As the largest - and arguably highest profile - event in the reinsurance calendar, the preponderance of senior executives at the Rendez-Vous attracts the business and trade press pack from around the world. This year's gathering was true to form, with media attending from far and wide, including Argentina, Singapore, US, UK, Lebanon, France, Belgium and Germany.
As in previous years, several of the re/insurance industry publications produced daily newsletters at the Rendez-Vous. Each day, another slew of publications hit the streets, at the same time as large brokers and consultants were launching major studies and surveys to the Rendez-Vous delegates. While all of these sources of information have undoubted intrinsic value, so does the excess luggage charge at the airport when travelling home. Furthermore, when an event is as intense as the Rendez-Vous, it leaves little time to sit down and read, and almost inevitably, any good intentions of studying the reams of paper picked up at a later date evaporates when the day-to-day pressures of office life kick in on getting back to the desk.
It was for this reason that Global Reinsurance came up with the concept of GR TV. The original idea was to provide all `Rendez-Vousers' with access to the top people in the industry - access which becomes difficult in the hothouse environment of the Rendez-Vous and nigh on impossible in the hectic world of globalised business. Superficially, this is little different from the plethora of newsletters circulated at the event. The major advantage, however, is that by providing this access in the form of a daily-changing TV programme piped directly into delegates' hotel rooms on dedicated channels, viewers can dip in and out at will when they're in their rooms, in the same way that business travellers pick up international news from CNN or CNBC.
Last year's GR TV programming focused very heavily on the `talking head' concept, featuring interviews with a variety of business leaders from then Lloyd's Chairman Sax Riley to Aon Ltd CEO, Dennis Mahoney. Also included in the programming was excerpts from a filmed roundtable looking at business systems, as well as a light-hearted look at the concept of probability from Simon Singh, the author of the international best seller, Fermat's Last Theorem. The programmes were broadcast in six of the largest hotels in Monaco, and a one-hour highlights video of the `best of broadcast' was later produced to offer a lasting reminder of the major themes discussed at the Rendez-Vous 2002.
The 2002 project had been a leap of faith, in particular for sponsor XL Re. Both XL Re and Global Reinsurance were entering pretty much uncharted waters, but the success of the project led to XL Re renewing its sponsorship position for the 2003 broadcast. However, one of the problems potentially facing the 2003 project was, in fact, the very success of 2002. That had benefited from the 'novelty' value - nobody had tried something along these lines before - so 2003 would need to be bigger and better to sustain interest during the course of the event.
Fine hotel receptionIn terms of being 'bigger', the number of hotels which dedicated a TV channel for transmission of GR TV increased to ten for the duration of this year's Rendez-Vous, and the Société des Bains de Mer kindly allowed GR TV to broadcast in the Café de Paris - an honour normally reserved for the Monaco Grand Prix. Another new feature for this year's programming is webstreaming, opening GR TV up to a much larger audience. Until the end of this year, all four days' programmes are available to view, free of charge, at www.globalreinsurance.tv.
As for the 'better' side of the equation, it is absolutely unarguable that the addition of Peter Morgan, the former BBC business correspondent, as GR TV's anchorman for the 2003 Rendez-Vous brought a new dimension of professionalism to the broadcast. Each day's programme was this year headed up with news analysis from the Rendez-Vous, and included discussions with leading industry figures on the major issues being talked about in the cafés and suites of Monte Carlo. And, as ever, the invaluable commitment of Cameron Shaw Productions, which provided the director and film crew, ensured the smooth running of the entire programme. But really, it is the feedback from viewers which proves the success of this year's broadcast. Both at Monte Carlo and after the event, many delegates have shared their opinions with the production crew on the programmes. There have been myriad suggestions for other events which could benefit from GR TV, and already plans are underway to make next year's broadcast at the Rendez-Vous de Septembre an even bigger success.
XL's testimonialBut finally, a message from our sponsor, Henry Keeling, Chief Executive for Reinsurance Operations at XL Capital Ltd. "XL Re is proud to have been associated with GR TV's coverage of the 2003 Rendez-Vous de Septembre. As a highly-rated global reinsurer, XL Re's business development philosophy is to forge relationships with partners who share our values of leadership, quality and innovation. We believe these three characteristics are very clearly reflected in this year's GR TV programming which provided a very credible forum for thought leadership in our business. The 2002 GR TV initiative was a great start to a new concept. The much-improved 2003 effort took it to a completely new high, a real winner."