There were some stimulating panel discussions at this conference, the highlight being the CEO panel, which had a great line up. I particularly enjoyed all the discussion around “when will the market turn.”

One panel member described the market as a “not yet” market, that there have been pockets of change but nothing has as “yet” had enough impact. Another panel member cautioned us about blaming others/other industries for our results.

Of obvious interest to me, as EVP of BMS’ Specialty Casualty team, was when one panel member expanded on the casualty market commenting that the casualty business looks surprising good – in spite of the depressed rate levels.

I also enjoyed the CFO panel where one debate focused on the benefits of reinsurance and whether or not it is felt the capital markets sector will displace the demand for reinsurance. One panel member was quick to comment that reinsurance does more than provide capital for their company, that it helps to de-risk as they build a diversified book and they value the reinsurance partnership with key players in the industry.

The keynote speaker raised some valid discussion points when he pushed thinking around the question; “Are we driving people/companies out of the market?” based upon the increased retentions. Furthermore, he talked about growth opportunities in this challenging market and how the real money is in the “specialties” (Practice Groups by Industry/Product). He concluded with the fact that opportunity lies in differentiated talent, that the focus of companies, needs to be on obtaining the best talent – then lead, motivate and retain them.