The theme of this year's Chartered Insurance Institute annual conference is simply Being the Best. The CII president, Reg Brown, chose it to illustrate the need to keep up with the dramatic changes affecting the insurance and financial services industry.

The conference will be held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London from September 27 to September 29, 2000. It will highlight the “supreme effort that is required if we are to keep abreast,” says Brown.

“Indeed, only our very best efforts will do. Second best is simply not good enough in this increasingly competitive world.”

The conference will deal with the challenge posed by the impact of globalisation, IT and a shortage of key skills. Participants will be offered an expert mix of in-depth industrial knowledge and valuable information on technology and motivation, presented by plenary speakers who are the leaders in their field.

Royal & SunAlliance group chief executive Robert Mendelsohn, Aon chairman and chief executive Patrick Ryan and CGNU group chief executive Robert Scott will give an industry input, while KPMG's managing partner Graham Oates will address the IT issues. Further speakers include Lloyd's chairman Max Taylor and Tim Carroll, chairman of the International Underwriting Association, who will be discussing “London: the best place to transact business”.

The last plenary session will feature Ian Thomas, a South African writer and photographer, who will emphasize the importance of motivation.

Active debate

The CII president wants this conference to be the most interactive ever: “Greater opportunities have been created in the programme to allow people to ask questions and take an active part in the debate,” says Brown. Business workshop sessions will cover a topical range of subjects and also give the chance to discuss issues of particular interest.

Additionally, the integral conference exhibition will have the largest number of stands ever – 41 this year, hosted by insurers, service providers, financial companies, legal firms and software houses. The exhibition will be open all through the conference and should provide multiple opportunities for networking.

The hot topic of the first plenary session, on Thursday September 28, will be a presentation of the current market and an outlook on the future, with contributions from Robert Mendelsohn (RSA), Patrick Ryan and Robert Scott (CGU) as well as Mark Ward (Arthur Andersen).

The big issue in the plenary session on Friday September 29 will be the intermediate market and examining the growing gap between large multinational brokers and smaller ones. Their respective purposes and essential skill-sets will be a focus for discussion.

The CII looks forward to a higher attendance than last year, and expects its conference to be heavily supported by the London market. A number of international delegates from Europe, Australia and Africa will attend.

CII President Reg Brown will officially open the conference at 6pm on Wednesday September 27. Plenary sessions and workshops will take place on Thursday September 28 followed by a drinks reception. Further plenary sessions will be held throughout Friday September 29, and the Annual Dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel will close the conference.