Converium group chief executive Dirk Lohmann set the tone of Rendez-Vous at the start of the week by advocating a "back-to-basics" approach to underwriting.

At the briefing, Lohmann called for a renewed focus on traditional reinsurance and insurance profitability, a sentiment which was echoed throughout the conference by key industry players.

He identified key issues facing the industry, including losses from risks written in the late 1990s, greater disclosure becoming necessary, financial markets' volatility, and problems from companies' core businesses setting their agendas.

Other problems remain, such as reserve deficiencies, recent asbestos rulings such as Fairchild, and continuing concern over WTC losses. But he said: "We are at the early stages of recovery."

He added that demand dynamics would prolong recovery because demand for reinsurance is increasing.

Lohmann explained this was due to higher solvency requirements, losses on the asset side of businesses and dry capital markets limiting capital returns.

He predicted a "going back-to-basics" approach and said: "Remaining conglomerates are likely to dispose, close or spin off non-core reinsurance activities."

Lohmann added that Converium would continue its focus on specialist lines like aviation and professional liability.