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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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GIRO: Getting the balance right

Chairman’s preview
With Solvency II very much on the horizon and it almost being impossible for a day to pass without some mention of the global financial crisis, it is no surprise that the theme for this year’s General Insurance Research Organising (GIRO) Conference, the Profession’s annual conference for UK general insurance actuaries, is Actuarial Models: Getting the balance right.

In a packed programme combining technical, practical and more general sessions, GIRO once again boasts a number of high-profile external speakers. Among them will be Chris Sullivan, latterly the chief executive of RBS Insurance, who will be speaking on ‘How to thrive in recession’. Simon Harris from Moody’s will provide a rating agency’s view of risk management; Mark Eyre of RSA and Tim Edwards of the FSA will be speaking on Solvency II-related matters; and Professor Paul Klumpes from Imperial College Business School and an honorary fellow of the Institute will be speaking on ‘What can IFRS learn from Solvency II?’

In addition, one of the highlights of the conference will be the presentation from the world-renowned co-founder of The Mind Gym, Octavius Black, who will be speaking on leading through turbulence. This is the first time GIRO has been held in the Scottish capital and, with the EICC, one of the world’s outstanding venues for conferences, conventions and exhibitions, hosting the main programme, we have arguably the best facilities that GIRO has ever had at its disposal.

The GIRO Committee has created a programme of plenary sessions and workshops to assist delegates in satisfying most of their CPD requirements including sessions covering a wide range of topics such as Solvency II, recession, capital/ ERM and pricing. We will also have the Profession’s debate on reserving: “This house believes that deterministic reserving methods should no longer be used”, to be chaired by Kathryn Morgan and featuring contributions from Lis Gibson, Roger Hayne (president elect of the Casualty Actuarial Society), Dewi James and Julian Lowe. It has all the ingredients to be a lively and enthralling affair as well as addressing an issue fundamental to the future of all general insurance actuaries.

We have, once again, been overwhelmed with applications to run workshop sessions. We are therefore pleased to offer delegates nearly 70 different workshops to choose from, covering a wide range of topics. There is bound to be plenty of interest and relevance for everyone. Many of these workshops arise from the vast amount of volunteer work put in by our working parties throughout the year, so we shall once again be looking to kickstart next year’s research working parties at the conference. The GIRO working party model has proved to be a hugely successful research mechanism and the benchmark standard for other practice areas, not only in the UK but also worldwide.

As all GIRO regulars will know, GIRO is not just about the technical and actuarial content. It is the premier opportunity each year for general insurance actuaries to catch up, exchange ideas and reinforce the links that already exist within the general insurance actuarial community. With this in mind we have organised a variety of social events including the welcome reception, the Murrayfield experience and, of course, the conference dinner, without which no GIRO would be complete. This year’s dinner will be themed to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s favourite son, Robert Burns.

A microsite giving full details of this year’s GIRO Conference can be found at www.actuaries.org.uk/events/GIRO2009

Darren Michaels is a member of the General Insurance Practice Executive Committee and chairman of the General Insurance Research Organising (GIRO) Committee