2021 has been marked by continued challenges that have been met head-on by your Executive Committee and Board and we continue to adapt to non-traditional work and travel conditions. The Education Committee, ably led by Christiane Gross of Munich Re and John West, produced in 2021 almost monthly virtual events that have been extremely well attended. With the excellent Member Intern webinar held in July, over 630 attendees have been logged – certainly an IRUA record! For 2022 we hope, at some point, to return to in-person events but will continue with virtual events – apart from the Conference – certainly for the first half of the year.
Planning is almost finished for the 2022 Conference – being held jointly with Demotech, Inc. and room reservations and conference registration is OPEN so please plan to be there – April 25-27 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The theme will be the highly topical and relevant – “Business As Usual – Or Not?” The Conference will offer a wide array of topics so please check the website for the current agenda.
From its roots back in 1967, the IRU has brought together insurance and reinsurance professionals whereby sharing information and providing education were not only a necessity to create and further relationships but expand industry knowledge and help each other as partners grow in the business. Today’s IRUA still holds true those same values and principles that were shared by our predecessors.
As a non-profit, we rely on our member companies as well as individuals to actively participate and grow within the organization and its respective committees. Our member base is comprised of companies who operate within the US, London, Europe, and the Bermuda marketplace. With four core areas of focus, our member partners have the opportunity to attend various educational events throughout the year, including our Annual Conference, which brings together professional speakers to discuss those relevant topics that are impacting our industry. In addition, twice a month, the IRUA publishes a Newsletter and multiple times a year, the Journal of Reinsurance that showcases various industry topics and has been a staple of the IRUA for the last 28 years.
Finally, and what sometimes can be overshadowed, is the importance of bringing young professionals into our industry. We were very please to disburse $12,000 of member-donated funds for winning essays from four interns of IRUA member companies. In addition to interns, in 2021 we expanded the eligibility to new and recent hires at member companies, too. This program can provide financial assistance as well as tremendous networking opportunities for those individuals who are considering, or have started, a career in insurance/reinsurance. For more information and additional details on all of the IRUA offerings, please explore our website or feel free to contact myself, Jerry Wallis or Maria Sclafani.
For 2022 we look forward to continuing to work together as a group to solve the ongoing challenges our industry faces. We can accomplish this by sharing ideas, networking and building on the educational expertise our peers and industry professionals bring to the table. We will continue several initiatives the IRUA has undertaken, such as expanding the membership offering to all organizations within the insurance and reinsurance sectors. Historically, the IRUA has focused its initiatives on the Reinsurance Intermediary and Reinsurer segments of our industry. By expanding the IRUA membership to other segments within the insurance/reinsurance segment to include Insurance Carriers, Managing General Agents/Underwriters, and Third-Party Administrators, we can unlock the knowledge base within the entire risk tower and thereby increase the educational and networking offerings our member partners will ultimately benefit from. The 2022 Conference link-up with Demotech will greatly assist in that regard.
The membership fee structure will continue unchanged for 2022. Several member partners have taken advantage of this new approach that provides flexibility for member companies as well as, at your option, allow multiple employees to attend events at no extra cost. This has worked well and will continue to offer great value in 2022. We encourage you to consider the member fee options as detailed in the membership fee structure document made available for your consideration. The Scholars program fund was largely disbursed in 2021 so with the 2022 invoices we are reinstating the request for the customary $500 annual contribution.
In closing, we would like to thank our current member partners for their continued support of the IRUA and help drive the creation of quality educational programs and networking opportunities the IRUA is known for.
We look forward to a successful future together!
IRUA President, Vice President Underwriting – North America