It is with both humility and excitement that I am taking over the challenge of leading The Geneva Association at a time when the insurance industry is facing unprecedented change. I would like to thank our Chairman, Charles Brindamour, and the whole Board for their trust.
Perhaps the most significant change affecting the industry comes from the expectations of its stakeholders. Insurance is expected to help the world not only adapt to climate change but also mitigate it. It is expected to strengthen financial safety nets and promote social cohesion in a context of global ageing, increasing healthcare costs and rising income inequalities. It is expected to push the limits of insurability to support innovation and the development of new technologies. It is expected to promote responsible investment practices.
This backdrop is an opportunity to take a step back and reflect on the very purpose of The Geneva Association. We must better articulate our value proposition for the insurance industry. I have a strong conviction: there is a wide gap between the reputation of our industry—which can be improved, to say the least—and its actual contributions to people, businesses, economies and societies, which are massive. The Geneva Association is uniquely positioned to help narrow this gap. Let me highlight three paths of action.
We are revamping our research streams to better reflect the complexity of our times and the urgency of achieving sustainability. Climate change is the most visible environmental challenge today, whilst other related threats, such as eroding biodiversity, are mounting. Beyond ageing, some growing public health issues—obesity, tobacco consumption—require the engagement of insurers and policymakers. Also, the interconnectedness of the risks facing the world requires more multidisciplinary approaches, for example to explore the links between climate change and health. The intent is not only to identify future trends that are relevant for the insurance industry and to provide insights on them: it is also to build scenarios and formulate recommendations for insurers and policymakers.
Our dialogue platforms are ripe for evolution, too. For many years, The Geneva Association has gathered insurance leaders, regulators and academics to discuss current and emerging topics affecting insurers. The reality is that many of these topics directly affect customers and their communities. Therefore, we are taking steps to enrich our exchanges through more inclusive forums.
Our operating model needs to be adjusted, as well. With the number of think tanks proliferating, it becomes less relevant to conduct research on a stand-alone basis. We must move to a more agile way of working based on open architecture that encourages collaboration with academic institutions, the research departments of multilateral organisations and other think tanks, in order to enhance the impact of our work.
Since our foundation we have served as a catalyst for better understanding and managing risks. We can honor our tradition of robust, fact-based research and high-level dialogue, and at the same time project our mission forward to highlight the contributions of insurance to more sustainable economies and societies.
I look forward to working with the members of the Association and with its staff to promote insurance for a better world.