The trade body’s annual spring event will move to a digital platform for next year, after 2020’s conference and exhibition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic

Biba has confirmed that its annual exhibition and conference, typically held at conference centre Manchester Central Complex, will move to be a digital event for 2021 in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Themed around ‘Strengthening Resilience’, the event will now take place online on 12 and 13 May 2021 via a customised platform.

In order to mirror the atmosphere, schedule and networking capabilities of the in-person conference and exhibition, Biba’s digital version will use artificial intelligence-powered profile matchmaking to connect delegates and exhibitors.

Attendees will also be able to make appointments with peers, as well as use live chat and video conference functionalities within the platform.

Keynote addresses and the full line-up of speakers will be announced in the new year.

Steve White, Biba chief executive, said: “This has been the most challenging year that our sector and our customers have ever faced.

“What we have seen is the importance of resilience and how organisations, people and government will need to ramp it up in the coming months and years.

“Insurance brokers are solution makers, building resilience in their businesses and helping their customers to weather the storms they face. We intend to examine this, providing inspirational speakers and sessions where you can have your say.

“Biba 2021 will help to drive a resilient culture and find a successful road through the challenges and changes brought about by, amongst other things, the pandemic and Brexit.”

Biba’s 2020 conference and exhibition was unfortunately cancelled this May, as the UK continued its national lockdown in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Lindsay Campbell, Biba’s conference director, added: “We were overwhelmed with the support given to us following the forced cancellation of Biba 2020 and are determined to come back to give the sector a great event in 2021.

“After much consideration around the current situation in the UK, we have reached the conclusion that it is impossible and unwise for us to hold a physical event next May. However, we have invested in researching the means to bring you an amazing digital conference and exhibition experience at Biba 2021.”