Valerie Denney previews this important Panama event.

The last day of this century sees the Panama Canal reverting to the full sovereignty of the Republic of Panama. An event which symbolises the beginning of a new era in the relations between Panama and the United States, and which will build on the growing presence of US companies and investors in a spirit of shared interests.

Leading up to this, Panama is hosting various insurance conferences, one of which is the XXVII Insurance Hemispheric Conference, sponsored by the Inter American Federation of Insurance Companies (FIDES). From 24 to 27 October, the Atlantic-Pacific Convention Center and the Westin Caesar Park Hotel (located across the street from the Atlantic-Pacific) will be host to over 1,000 high level representatives of the continent's insurance companies and observers from the reinsurance and financial sector.

A definite agenda has been adopted. As the organisers put it: “Topics related to a new vision of the insurance enterprise, its management, new products and marketing strategies, as well as the globalisation of the industry and incursion of the capital markets, will be discussed by expert international guest speakers.”Sunday, 24 October is the day for getting everyone settled. According to the preliminary programme, on the Monday, Alberto Alemán Zubieta, administrator of the Panama Canal, will talk about the Canal, focusing on the continued commitment to world trade.

The following day, Michael M. Liés, director of the Latin American division at Swiss Re, will provide a presentation entitled, “A vision of the new insurance company: management, new products and marketing.”

Elias Olmeta of Chase Securities then goes on to discuss mergers and acquisitions in the insurance industry.

On the Wednesday, Dr Gerd Gelb of KPMG in Germany will talk about the internationalisation of the insurance industry and the importance of financial information to investors.

The incursion of capital markets in the insurance industry is also a topic under the spotlight on this day.

More than just a conference
As the organisers point out, in addition to the conference and business sessions, this meeting is an opportunity to exchange valuable ideas and experiences as well as to strengthen personal relationships. With this in mind, time has been dedicated to enjoy the traditional Panamanian hospitality in social events, tours and recreational activities.

A trade show too
An exposition of communications and data processing technology, information systems, office equipment, and supplies and services to the insurance industry will take place during the conference.

For further information on the programme contact Bosco Quintero, executive director, Panamanian Insurance Association,Tel: 507 225 9475. Fax: 507 225 8259.

For registration information contact Congrexpo Internacional, tel: 507 569 5655. Fax: 507 269 5680. E-mail: