Bottomline profitability has been the insurance industry's mantra for the past two years.

Senior executives have expressed their firm commitment to underwriting discipline and aversion to taking on risks that could drag their companies' long-term profitability further into the red.

But the reality doesn't often tally with the rhetoric. After 9/11 the market witnessed a hardening of rates that helped boost the insurance industry's depleted balance sheets.

However, over the past six to eight months the tide has turned and rates have softened, leading some commentators to worry that there is an inevitable deterioration of profitability on the horizon.

The FSA has already made it clear that it is worried about insurers' solvency ratios in a softened market, but in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a possible $50bn to $60bn loss, the regulator will be even more attentive to reserves.

Long-term profitable growth in this industry is what everyone wants. This conference, in association with the WDA, discussed the issues that can help the insurance industry sustain profitability and offer an insight, from our panel of industry experts, on what the current strategic thinking is in the major insurer, brokers and technology companies.

Why Wales? Wales is now home to 1,800 companies in the financial services sector employing 28,000 people.

Financial services generates 5% of Welsh GDP. And in recent months Lloyds TSB Insurance, Zurich, Admiral, Principality and HSBC have expanded operations in the region, creating 1,000 new jobs.

Elliot Lane, Insurance Times editor