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Swiss Re hosted its 33rd Annual Canadian Outlook Breakfast on April 10 for about 125 people comprised of clients, brokers, regulators and the media.

Veronica Scotti, Swiss Re Canada President & CEO, welcomed guests and introduced the morning's speakers, Don Forgeron, President & CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), and Edi Schmid, Group Chief Underwriting officer at Swiss Re.

Scotti opened proceedings by outlining the need to build a more resilient world. One important step is furthering discussions and raising awareness among re/insurers, governments and consumers so effective solutions can be developed. Scotti spotlighted flood as a particular concern, where the industry in Canada has made progress over the last four years but there remains more to do and the peril keeps on taking its toll.

"If we can make private flood insurance a reality for all Canadians, people will be able to put their lives back together much quicker following disasters," she said. "It's up to us to give young people hope for the future of their planet and their communities; right now they do not think of us and they do not trust us." She went on to remind the executives in the room of the industry promises: "The insurance sector has committed at the national flood roundtable last autumn to building a more resilient Canada together with other key stakeholders – it's time to act on those commitments."

Scotti was followed by the IBC's Forgeron who talked about how society – and the insurance industry – might look in 20 years.

He discussed, among other things, driverless cars and delivering insurance to generations that want quick, easy and affordable interactions. "How do we keep the traditional auto insurance system going?" He mused that how people respond to this question will not only determine the fate of individual companies, but the industry as a whole.

Forgeron reinforced the need to adapt to the millennial generation, saying "by the time of the next federal election, millennials will constitute the largest voting bloc in Canada."

While some may see a threat, he sees an opportunity, citing technological advances that can help capture this important segment of consumers.

Schmid outlined some of the risks and opportunities he sees from his position as Group Chief Underwriting officer. Cyber risk, climate change, a rise in nationalism and regulatory fragmentation are growing challenges, he told the audience. But high-growth markets and the work being done to close the protection gap through the application of technology do provide optimism. Concrete examples of innovative covers were offered as food for thought for the audience.

"Only a small percentage of natural disaster losses around the word are covered by insurance which is a huge opportunity for our industry," he said. "Innovation and technology are the keys to addressing this. Whether it's wildfire and earthquake in Canada, or other perils around the world, we have the chance to not only grow our businesses, but also protect people."

Don and Edi's full presentations can be found and downloaded by clicking on the "Presentations" tab.