It’s a busy time for Biba as the annual conference and exhibition looms

It’s our busiest time of year again, with the Biba 2012 conference and exhibition looming large. After my defeat at the hands of snooker champ Steve Davies last year, the team are egging me on to challenge Aaron Cook, the world number one Taekwondo champion, who will be on the Allianz stand.

That’s one contest I’ll give a wide berth to, although I will be sure not to miss some of the other highly topical seminar sessions.

The advance reservations are flooding in for the Thursday morning session – ‘What do future customers want?’ Hosted by Paul Lewis, the highly respected journalist and broadcaster from BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox, this session will see leading customer representatives Airmic, Which?, the Citizens Advice Bureau, and Biba Chairman Andy Homer giving their take on what the industry needs to provide in the years ahead.

Other sessions of particular interest include ‘Motor insurance – How to make a profit’. With the motor market under the spotlight, key players from brokers and insurers will be quizzed by Simon Jack, from BBC Radio 4’s Today.

One potential business opportunity is in trade credit insurance and journalist Andrew Marr will host a session to discuss how it can enable trade and how brokers can tap into this market.

Our closing speaker, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the world wide web, has been outspoken in the press recently about the so-called ‘snooping bill’ – bearing in mind the industry’s discussions about telematics data and online trading, this keynote session is a must.

If anyone would like to come and discuss any Manifesto issues, I will be on the Biba stand and happy to discuss what is affecting you. After our success with the new signposting to brokers initiative with the government, you may want to come and check that we have the correct details for your firm, ensuring you are getting the right leads from the 400,000+ queries we receive every year.

As I reflect on another year since Biba’s last conference, the last 12 months have been another rollercoaster for me: another baby, moving house twice, achieving my CII Fellowship, meeting the Prime Minister and my heroes Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill of rock band Simple Minds.

The Biba inbox seems to have had one of its busiest years yet, with missives about everything from the government’s motor insurance investigations, riots and flood insurance to crunch time in Europe with the Insurance Mediation Directive, the transition from Financial Services Authority to Financial Conduct Authority, reform of insurance law and Biba’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme petition, which engaged 7,000 members.

All these issues play a part in shaping our futures, so I hope I will see you at conference. Don’t forget that there is such a thing as a free lunch for Biba brokers who register online before 8 May. Those who register before 1 May will receive a name badge in the post to ensure fast track entry into the exhibition hall.

See you in Manchester.