Jorge Luzzi looks ahead to the Congreso de Alarys.

The end of the century is just around the corner, and risk management faces some of its greatest challenges in Latin America with the advent of globalisation, whether it is for raw materials or manufactured products, imports or exports.

Today, as a result of all the interchange between businesses, the regions of the world are forced to try to adapt to new methods of doing business internationally. This is the case not just in Latin America but in Asia, Africa and the countries in the Pacific region. Today we have to be pragmatic, adapt to new methods and maintain permanent contacts in Europe and North America to access insurance and reinsurance markets, as well as to manage uninsurable risks.

This introduction expresses our strategic vision that as citizens of the world we are forced to look toward a growing profession of integrated markets composed of risk managers, insurers, reinsurers, brokers and all those companies linked to the protection of risk whose expertise and experience can help us go forward and grow technically. This is precisely the reason why Alarys, the Latin American risk management association, has established a congress, which will be held for the third time this year from 22 to 25 November in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Alarys, which stands for Associacion Latinoamericano de Administradores de Riesgos y Seguros, is composed of risk management associations from Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Brasil, Argentina, Uruguay and Spain (our European associate). It is a member of the International Federation of Risk and Insurance Management Associations, Inc. (IFRIMA), where it shares a forum with risk management associations from all over the world. For the congress, there will be simultaneous translation available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Congress topics

A particular subject for discussion at the congress is "What awaits us as risk managers at the end of the century." Some topics on our programme are of concern to risk managers the world over: the urban risk, high tech coverage risks and directors' and officers' liability, which is relatively new to our region. Speakers from all over the world will give their expertise in discussions of risk financing and alternative markets, securitisation and credit insurance.

Others subjects have a particularly local aspect. For example, because of its diversity, our region suffers from a variety of natural catastrophes; the Caribbean is frequently affected by hurricanes, the Pacific coast is vulnerable to earthquakes and on the Atlantic coast, there are periodic floods. Crisis management and political risks will be discussed in depth. The changing reinsurance market is of great interest in Latin America, because much of the region has now dismantled its state reinsurance monopolies, and Brazil is about to follow suit. Discussions on topics linked to reinsurance will, therefore, be of vital importance during the congress.

Loss prevention is a traditional topic, but with a different twist this year, as we will look at loss prevention and the year 2000 bug.

There has been an excellent response to the congress. Not only risk managers from the region will attend but also from European and North American companies. Insurance regulators from different countries in Latin America are taking part. We have, therefore, scheduled roundtable discussions so participants can talk together and, maybe, get answers to some questions.

You will be welcome to join us in Buenos Aires.

Jorge Luzzi is president of Alarys. For information on the third Alarys congress, contact assistant secretary Sally Greene. Tel: 1 516 486 3249; fax: 1 516 538 1768.