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BILA was well represented at the 8th AIDA Europe Conference held in Lisbon on 3-4 October 2019.

With approximately 25 speakers, session chairs or delegates from the UK, the British contribution was among the largest for the event, which attracted 230 delegates from over 30 countries, quite evenly drawn from representatives within the market, within private legal practice and from academia.

Staged in the excellent facilities of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the event opened with two strong and contrasting keynote presentations on the theme, “The Landfall of the Tech Storm”.

Jorge Magalhaes Correia, Chairman & CEO Fidelidade Seguros, Portugal made a spirited call for the “human factor” to be afforded a prominent place when companies were competing to innovate and remain successful in a fast-changing market. Having happy customers and staff remained as essential as ever to lasting success. Julia Unkel, PwC Germany Insurance Leader, provided a detailed look at how innovation and technology were dramatically changing client interaction and the delivery of insurance services.

Presentations and discussions across the two days in the form of plenary, breakout and working party sessions covered most aspects of the latest legal, risk and coverage issues emerging, including: specific consideration of the Cyber Risk Landscape; promises versus the reality of the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) upon which Kiran Soar (Ince) spoke; and challenges presented by artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles (with Rob Merkin and Kyriaki Noussia (Exeter University) among the speakers) and what new legal skills lawyers will need to acquire, to which BILA Chair, Christine Williams contributed as a panellist.

Contributing to the Hot Topics / Key Developments and Working Party sessions were Michael Mendelowitz speaking on “A UK perspective of Insurance & Reinsurance Dispute Resolution in a post-Brexit Environment” and Tim Hardy, who chaired and spoke at the Climate & Catastrophic Events Working Party meeting addressing the question, “Who is really accountable when climate policies and cat event safeguards fail?”.

The opportunity was also provided for the four winners of the Call for Papers (sponsored by the BILA Charitable Trust, but regrettably including no BILA successful representative this time) to introduce their papers in the plenary session and to present them at a designated session held in Lisbon’s nearby Nova University.

A full set of conference materials is available in the event document repository to be found on the AIDA website at: https://aidainsurance.org/event-programmes/8th-aida-europe-conference-programmedocument-repository_1944240480.

The date has already been set for the 9th AIDA Europe Conference to be held in Zurich over 17/18 September 2020. BILA members are encouraged to make representations about what particular issues and themes they would like to see addressed at next year’s Conference and to be made the subject again of a Call for Papers. The issues of climate/digital/political disruption are likely to feature prominently.

Tim Hardy (E: t_hardy@btconnect.com) will again be on the Conference Organising Committee and will be keen to learn of ideas and suggestions, preferably as soon as possible, to help encourage another topical and worthwhile event to be arranged and a healthy number again involved from BILA.