Global Reinsurance editor Sarah Goddard says: "This year's Rendez-Vous is shaping up to be very interesting. The dislocation in the international reinsurance markets following the events of 11 September has led to some fundamental differences of opinion about the industry's direction and future.

Talk will be about: how rates in some classes did not recover as fast as had been expected; whether underwriters are finally showing some true discipline in their approach to the business; and the start-ups and failures in the wake of WTC. But most of all, those who were gathered in Monte Carlo last year will remember the surreal environment in which we watched the twin towers fall, and realised the industry - and the world - would never be the same again.

Delegates can keep up to date all through Rendez-Vous by watching Global Re TV

When it comes to glamour and insurance, Rendez-Vous is as good as it gets.

This is the event where insurers mingle with the rich and famous against a backdrop of glamorous hotels, expensive yachts, swanky casinos and beautiful people.

The tiny Principality of Monaco clings to the Alps between Nice and the Italian border and measures less than two square kilometres.

This haven of wealth and privilege has played host to the leading lights of the global reinsurance community since 1957 Rendez-Vous is not so much a conference, as an informal gathering of all those involved in the January renewals, including insurers, reinsurers, brokers and reinsurance consultants.

It provides a forum for reinsurers to discuss what markets they are likely to be concentrating on in the coming year and is a good sounding board for companies wanting to discuss new strategies.

The Baden Baden conference in Germany in October is a more formal follow-up to Monte Carlo where parties roll up their sleeves and start working on business for the renewals, with work often elating to specific contracts.

Both events are fairly informal and are set in and around the hotels and bars of both cities.

Baden Baden: the same but different

Insurance gets Monaco glamour

by Eloïse Haigh

When insurers, reinsurers and brokers converge on Monte Carlo in September, the inevitable thoughtful spirit will be in stark contrast to the light-heartedness of previous years.

Those who attended last year will be reminded of the 11 September tragedy, which they watched unfold on the second day of the Rendez- Vous.

The news spread around the glamorous bars and cafes of Monaco and all meetings were cancelled as delegates reeled from the shock that would overshadow the whole conference.

This means that while the Rendez-Vous event has historically been a relaxed forum for discussing upcoming reinsurance renewals, from this year onwards it is likely to be a more serious affair.

Despite the subdued atmosphere that may result, there is a wide range of crucial issues for companies to discuss and, hopefully, this year 's meetings will yield some positive results.

At last year 's Rendez-Vous, before 11 September, discussions centred on capacity shortages and company consolidations.

These are likely to figure prominently on many companies' agendas again this year - in fact they are more relevant than ever post-WTC.

The market has continued to harden, capacity has become scarcer and rates have risen.

Newcomers to the market will also be of interest as Bermuda continues to thrive as an insurance centre, and other players join both the London and global insurance markets.

Of course, the enormous change in the global reinsurance markets resulting from WTC will also be high on the agenda at this, the first Monte Carlo event since the attacks.

Hopefully this year 's Rendez-Vous will be as positive and productive as it ought to be, focusing on innovative strategies for global reinsurance and act- ing as a melting pot for new ideas and initiatives.

A more pensive Rendez-Vous this year Aon deputy chairman Max Taylor says: "I think that European flooding is going to be one of the big issues at this year 's Rendez-Vous. "Everyone will be talking about the reinsurance renewals and how they will affect the primary insurance market in the UK."

Programme of events
Saturday 7 September 2.30pm -6pm Sporting d 'Hiver,Place du Casino Registration -Registration facility is available between 9am and 6pm each day until Wednesday 11 September at 12.30pm.

Sunday 8 September 8.45am onwards Yacht Club de Monaco Regatta 9am -6pm Sporting d 'Hiver,Place du Casino

Registration Monday 9 September 2.30pm -6.30pm l 'Hôtel Hermitage -Salon Costa

Life and Reinsurance Presentation organised by the FFSA 6pm -8pm

Official cocktail party on the Monte-Carlo Grand Hotel Terrasses,hosted by the RVS organising committee.

Tuesday 10 September 9.30am -11.30am Sporting d 'Hiver -Place du Casino. Conference conducted by José Ruiz, managing director, Nacional de Reaseguros New risks,what capacity? Speakers:

  • Professor Marc Gentilini,chairman of the Croix Rouge Française
  • Walter Kielholz,managing director and chief executive,Swiss Re
  • Patrick Ryan,chairman and chief executive,Aon Corporation

    2pm -4pm Sporting d 'Hiver -Place du Casino Learning how to become more responsible Presentation organised by the Global Responsibility Foundation

    Wednesday 11 September

    9.30am -11.30am Sporting d 'Hiver -Place du Casino Germany,UK,Italy,France,and US:the evolution and trends of the non-life markets. Roundtable -under the authority of the Non-Life Insurance Plenary Commission,FFSA (Paris)

    12am Hôtel de Paris,Salon Debussy Press conference by the chairman of the Rendez-Vous de Septembre organising committee. For more information,contact:Direction du Tourisme et des Congrès,2A,bd des Moulins MC 98030,Monaco CEDEX,Tel:+377 92 16 60 50 /51 /52,Fax:+377 92 16 61 35,

    Getting there
    The closest airport is Nice. From there, Monac is a 45-minute bus journey or even a short -and relatively cheap at £50 - helicopter ride.

    Where to stay
    Hôtel de Paris (Golden Square of the Place du Casino,tel:00 377 921 6300).This luxury hotel was built in 1864 and features 135 bed- rooms,43 apartments and 19 suites,as well as c nference facilities.

    Hôtel Hermitage (Square Beaumarchais Bp No.277,tel:00 377 921 6400). This glamourous hotel boasts beautiful architecture and interiors t match with its chandeliers and frescos.

    Columbus Monac (23 Avenue des Papalins, tel:00 377 92 05 9000).This is a luxurious but more modern choice,the rooms coming with CD players and internet access.

    Hôtel Mirabeau (1 Avenue Princess Grace, tel:00 377 9797 5100).This is an excellent hotel t entertain at with its extensive party facilities and lavish surroundings.

    Monte Carlo Beach Hotel (Avenue Princess Grace,tel:00 377 9797 5100).This is a must for those who love the water -it boasts beach access,watersport amenities and a pool.

    Where to eat
    Le Louis XV (Place du Casino,tel:00 377 92 16 2976)is perhaps Monte Carlo's flashest restaurant,boasting three Michelin stars.It is run by famous French chef Alain Ducasse. La Potiniere (00 377 98 23 6666)alongside the Beach Hotel is an excellent specialist seafood restaurant.

    Zebra Square (Grimaldi Forum,10 Avenue Princesse Grace,tel:00 377 99 99 2550)is the place to go if you fancy something a bit more modern and sleek.

    Il Terrazzino (2 Rue des Iris,tel:00 377 93 50 2427)is a stunning yet intimate Italian restaurant with reasonable prices.

    What to do
    If you tire of talking insurance,check out something completely different in the form of one of Monte Carlo's many other diversions:

    Musée Oceanographique (Ave St-Martin, tel:00 377 93 15 36 00).Aquarium entrance £7. Palais du Prince (tel:00 377 93 25 18 31) The changing of the guard happens just before midday and guided tours of the palace are also available.Entrance is £4.

    Monac Cathedral (Ave Saint-Martin)is a stunning cathedral built in the late 19th cen- tury.The harbour is also worth a look with its amazing yachts,as are the splendid boutiques that line Monte Carlo's boulevards.

    Monte Carlo is famed for its casinos. The renowned Monte Carlo Casino (Place du Casino,tel:00 377 92 16 2121)costs £6.60 to get in and you will need your passport.

    Other casinos are the Café de Paris (Place du Casino),Le Casino de Monte Carlo (Place de Casino)and Monte Carlo Sporting Club and Casino (Salle des Palmiers).If gambling is not your thing,try out Jimmy'z (Avenue Princesse Grace,00 377 92 16 2277).Watch out though -drinks are expensive.

    Guide to ...
    The famous Monte Carlo Casino is a reminder of the foundation of Monaco 's past economy while, today, prosperous hotels and apartment blocks dominate the skyline, right,and alfresco dining is the fashion

    Underwriting discipline needs to stay at the centre of negotiations at this year's Rendez- Vous. -- Rob Jones, Standard & Poor's director

    Rendez-Vous will provide a fascinating opportunity to test the mood of a market newly rededicated to technical underwriting -- Stephen Tacey, Signum Marketing Communications director

    The industry will remember absent friends and then recognise the speed of change, resulting from the tragedies last September -- Alex Letts, ri3k chief executive

    The capacity issues continue and people will be interested in newcomers to the London and global insurance markets -- Andrew Driver,
    Impact PR and Marketing
    managing director

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