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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Conference preview: GIRO

Chairman’s preview
The journey to Solvency II is well under way in our industry and, whether or not you are directly involved in preparing your organisation for this new regime, your work will no doubt be impacted in some way. As we navigate our way through this additional workload, it is clear that actuaries are central to the delivery of Solvency II. On a positive note, we are highly privileged to be much in demand. However, at a time when we find ourselves so occupied, it is also comforting for each of us to know that we are not alone.

The 38th GIRO conference and exhibition, the annual gathering of the UK general insurance actuarial community, will be taking place in Liverpool in October. This is the first time that GIRO has visited the BT Convention Centre, one of the UK’s largest and most modern conference facilities.

GIRO offers a unique opportunity to extract ourselves from our day-to-day activities and reflect on this journey we are all taking. Apart from the more immediate benefit of interacting with others in similar positions, we can also begin to visualise a post-Solvency II world. Are we really taking advantage of the current demand for our skills?

We should ask ourselves: to what extent are actuaries, although heavily involved, really influential in all their areas of work? By examining the part we play in our organisations today, we begin to envisage where we will find ourselves when we complete our journey and make landfall. Our theme this year encapsulates this: ‘Navigating risk: are actuaries at the helm?’

So, our next port of call is Liverpool — a port that was, in its heyday, second only to London in size and the driver of the city’s impressive industrial history. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that it was here the oldest association of marine underwriters in the UK was founded. The Liverpool Underwriters’ Association was founded in 1802, many decades before the Institute of London Underwriters (1884) and the Lloyd’s Underwriters Association (1909). More recently, Liverpool has been better known for its contribution to music and the arts, becoming the European City of Culture in 2008. I am told they also have a reasonably successful football club.

The GIRO committee has organised a full programme that will appeal to all walks of life within our community. Recognising the growing and increasingly diverse delegation that GIRO is attracting, we have allowed more time this year for some 60 different workshops throughout the conference. Ensuring our plenary sessions maintain their broader appeal, once again we will be covering a wide range of topics from familiar areas such as pricing, reserving and Solvency II to others such as managing pressure and examining the wider industry and economy. To deliver all of this, we have secured the services of several guest speakers and are continually grateful for the ongoing support that we receive from within our own profession.

We all know that there is more to GIRO than its formal programme. GIRO continues to be the premier annual opportunity for general insurance actuaries to catch up, maintain and develop the social links that bind us together as a community. You will be pleased that this year will be no exception with our welcome reception, informal evening with live entertainment and, of course, the conference dinner, which will be held in the magnificent surrounding of the UK’s largest cathedral. By the time you return to your organisations, you will know that you will not be walking alone.

The GIRO committee and I look forward to welcoming you.

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Colum D’Auria is a member of the general insurance practice executive committee and chairman of the GIRO committee

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The GIRO conference runs from 11-14 October at the BT Convention Centre, Liverpool. For more information, visit www.actuaries.org.uk/events/residential/giro-conference-and-exhibition-2011