After 30 years in the industry, over 20 of which have been spent making the annual pilgrimage to BIBA, I still look forward to those two days in the middle of May each year where the insurance market comes together.
It’s all about connections
Like many, it’s the key date in my diary. A chance for me to connect with business colleagues from across the country, discuss key industry issues and talk about business opportunities.
After 20 years, it has become almost a nostalgic trip; enabling me to reconnect with brokers and ex-colleagues from previous times. However, whilst it’s nice to remember the past, BIBA provides me with a chance to meet new people and discuss new ideas and trading opportunities. Networking, for me, is the central focus of my time at BIBA.
Meetings, meetings, meetings
BIBA is a fast-paced environment full of delegates running from one meeting to the next. Not quite speed-dating, but not far off. Long gone are the days of turning up on conference day and expecting to network with your contacts. With the year on year increase in conference attendees and exhibitors, time is precious, so ensuring you have pre-arranged meetings set up in the diary before you set foot through the doors is key.
Manchester – a great city to do business in
As a Yorkshireman, it pains me slightly to admit that Manchester is a great place to hold BIBA. Whilst it may be the wrong side of the Pennines for me, there is no doubt that Manchester comes alive for the insurance industry during the event.
Overnight, Manchester becomes a networking hub. From the conference floor at Manchester Central, to the cafes, restaurants and bars in and around the city, Manchester is the place to be to discuss insurance. The conference has, over the years, moved around the country. I have fond memories of travelling to Brighton, Glasgow and London. However it is without doubt that, for me, the best place for BIBA is Manchester. As an engineering insurer, it is even more special to have the biggest event in the insurance industry held in the birthplace of engineering insurance.
For those who have not attended BIBA before, I can’t emphasise enough the electric atmosphere of the event. There is a real buzz in the room, and the noise in the exhibition hall is sometimes overwhelming.
The main thing is to be prepared. Two days of meetings, exhibiting and late nights can take their toll. Day 2 is often referred to as recovery day, although it is the day to finalise deals and catch up with contacts before the conference closes, so there is no slow-down in the pace.
Innovate, evolve and thrive
So, what can we expect from this year’s event? This year’s theme has already got me questioning how, as an insurance industry, we can be more innovative. Responding to emerging risks and technologies with new products and distribution methods will get us so far. But truly understanding our customers, has to be the central part of our evolution. I’m definitely looking forward to discussions on this topic at the event, it’s a great subject.
For HSB, this year brings an exciting new aspect to BIBA. We have joined forces with another member of the Munich Re family, DAS, to have a more impactful stand. On the theme of innovation and evolution, our experts will be presenting on the topics of Cyber and the Internet of Things (IOT). We’ll have our team of specialists available to talk about all things engineering and technology focused and I’ll be there, so if you’re around come and say hello.
With this year’s BIBA, just a few days away, I am preparing myself for another excellent event. Even as a BIBA veteran, I learn something new every year. And despite the recovery time taking slightly longer than it used to, the buzz I get from BIBA still lasts for months.