It’s that time of year again, when the GR team jets off to Qatar to welcome an exclusive audience of senior (re)insurance executives
It’s been a fantastic start to the conference. Last night’s opening reception was packed to the rafters, with a mixture of returning delegates and first timers. It was great to see companies such as Hiscox, represented by Charles Dupplin – a real sign that the pull of the Middle East is growing ever stronger. There was talk of other Lloyd’s grandees signing up for next year, but I won’t tempt fate by naming names.
Then the real business kicked off this morning. Interviewing PartnerRe’s global chief executive Emmanuel Clarke on stage, I was interested to hear how European companies are determined to plant a flag in the market, despite it offering few returns in the short term. PartnerRe is yet to open a Gulf office, however – when I asked Emmanuel what it would take, he joked “a profitable business plan”.
After a quick coffee break, it was back on stage with Yassir Albaharna, chief executive of Arig. Yassir is something of an industry leader in the region, and it was great to hear him speak so passionately and eloquently about the issues facing the industry. He made some particularly strong points about the imbalance in the market, with primary insurers ceding much of their business, and often only operating for commissions. It clearly hit a nerve with the audience, with questions about whether regulators should set minimum retention limits. Yassir thinks not.
Here we are, back in Qatar once again. After a relatively smooth flight, the Global Reinsurance team has landed in Doha for the sixth annual MultaQa Qatar conference. We’re at a new venue this year – the Ritz Carlton – to give us more space for the hundreds of delegates who have signed up.
With the team putting the finishing touches to the stage set, there’s little to do now but sit back and wait for this evening’s opening reception, to be followed by dinner with our speakers. I’m particularly looking forward to meeting PartnerRe boss Emmanuel Clarke and Arig chief executive Yassir Albaharna, as I’ll be interviewing them both on stage tomorrow.
Be sure to visit the GR website over the next few days for all the news and gossip from the conference.