AILA conference evidence of increasing industry interest in events

Delegates warned of activist class actions

AILA conference evidence of increasing industry interest in events

Insurance News

By Daniel Wood

Last week, the Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA) held its National Conference in Sydney.

Over three days, sessions included: global trends in risk and regulation, climate change issues for insurers, the future of class actions, cyber challenges and issues facing the financial lines market.

Alexandra Bartlett (pictured above), AILA’s NSW president, said the success of this gathering was evidence of the increasing interest in attending face-to-face industry and networking events.

Bartlett, who is also a partner at global law firm Kennedys, was Insurance Business’s ears and eyes at the AILA conference.

“I think a lot of attendees found the panel sessions very engaging, particularly the class action, cyber, design and building professionals and climate change discussions,” said Bartlett who specialises in financial lines, particularly directors & officers and professional indemnity both from the defence and coverage perspective.

She was impressed by the range of perspectives from panellists representing different areas of insurance and other industries.

“For example, the class actions seminar panel was made up of Matt Dick from Chubb, Melody Carr from Marsh and Gavin Beardsell from Omni Bridgeway,” she said. “Andy Pitman from UNSW was also very impressive, and he gave a very clear outline of climate science and how it might (or might not) be used in considering insurance risks.”

Bartlett said she was interested to learn about the rise of activist class actions in the Northern hemisphere in a session by Patrick Hill of DAC Beachcroft.

“I wonder whether or when we will see those sort of actions arise in our jurisdiction, particularly with respect to pollution or climate catastrophe events,” she said.

Bartlett also said she was “fascinated to hear” about the speed of product development and the differing types of claims emerging in the area of cyber insurance.

“I was also pleased to see that the Diversity@AILA event, presented by Lyle Steffensen of Marsh and Winnie Jobanputra of Kennedys, was such a success,” she said. “It quickly became a sell-out event and a number of participants commented on the importance of including diversity discussions at industry events.”

Bartlett said the AILA National Conference demonstrates the importance of educational seminars and networking events in our industry.

“The atmosphere at the conference was fantastic thanks to the enthusiasm of the presenters, sponsors and attendees as well as the care taken to put in appropriate COVID-19 safety measures,” she said.

Bartlett said that in some ways, the conference felt like a reunion of colleagues and friends.

“It was also great to see the younger members of the profession and industry have the opportunity to connect with each other and network,” she said.  If the YP Moot Event and Ron Shorter presentations are anything to go by, the future of the insurance industry and insurance law profession are in safe hands.”

There was further evidence of increased industry interest in face-to-face events at the Underwriting Agencies Council’s (UAC) underwriting expo in Norwest Sydney last week.

The UAC Norwest Sydney Underwriting Expo in Parramatta was sold out – with 250 registered brokers. The event featured 72 exhibitors. UAC is staging more underwriting expos across the country including Adelaide in September, Hobart in October, and Perth in November.

“The reason we do expos for our members is because the insurance companies have much, much, much more money than we do,” said William Legge, UAC’s general manager. “So, for an individual underwriting agency to try and get around to seeing a decent number of brokers, outside the ones who he or she normally deals with, is an expensive if not difficult task. So, the idea of these expos is that we go to central places and the brokers come to us.”

Two other big events are coming up on the insurance industry calendar:

Next week, on August 24, the Women in Insurance Summit will take place at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth. The summit will feature a range of powerful keynote sessions, workshops, networking activities, presentations and panel discussions led by influential leaders from the industry on the issues that matter most. You can register for the summit here.

On September 2, the annual Insurance Business Australia Awards takes place at Doltone House, Darling Island in Sydney. The Awards will be an in-person black-tie gala evening giving brokers, brokerages, insurers, underwriting agencies, BDMs, service providers and more the chance to be showcased on a national stage, while celebrating with all the glitz and glamour that they deserve. To register click here.

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