About the conference

The 39th Annual GIRO Conference and Exhibition, the annual gathering of the UK’s general insurance actuarial community, will be held at the heart of Europe this September. The SQUARE is a striking conference centre in the cultural centre of Brussels and one of the largest venues ever visited by GIRO and its growing delegation. Although the implementation of Solvency II may have suffered delays since the committee set its sights on Brussels some years ago, I am delighted to report that we are very much on track in our preparations for what promises to be a most enjoyable, stimulating and engaging programme.

The programme will attract diverse groups within our community. Ensuring their broader appeal, our plenary sessions will again cover a wide range of topics from pricing, reserving and capital to leadership, climate change and the economy. To complement this, we have once again received an overwhelming response to our call for workshops. The committee is continually grateful for the support we receive in this regard and are very pleased to offer an array of workshops which will suit all tastes.

Our theme for this year’s conference is “Juggling uncertainty: the actuary’s part to play”. ‘Uncertainty’ is a word that the actuary has long contemplated – it underpins our profession’s motto – and we are tasked with understanding and communicating this to users of our advice. Many of these users will not interpret this word in the same way – perhaps part of the ‘understanding gap’ identified in the Morris review.  ‘Uncertainty’ is also a word that has not been far from the headlines in recent times, not least when describing the current European economic situation. In such times of apparent heightened uncertainty, there is more for us to juggle, more questions for us to answer and, importantly, a bigger role for us to fill. I hope our time in Brussels will give us an opportunity to discuss what those questions are, deliberate one or two answers and examine the part which we all, both individually and collectively, must play.

Two hours from London, although relatively compact, Brussels is unmistakably a commercial and political hub. From the variety of languages, cuisines, architecture and art present, it is equally clear that it has maintained this status over many centuries. Having visited a number of venues within the UK in recent years, the committee has responded to feedback in selecting Brussels as a destination. I have no doubt that it offers a fitting backdrop to many of our current issues and a suitable environment for those important social elements of GIRO, both on- and off-programme. As always, we are excited to be offering a fun-filled social programme and, for those of you staying in Brussels for the weekend after the conference, I am confident that the city will not disappoint. One certainty that I can profess is that GIRO will continue to be an unrivalled opportunity for us to meet each other and strengthen our community.

I very much look forward to welcoming you to Brussels.

Colum D'Auria, Chairman GIRO Committee 2012