4th annual IFRFC Conference in Singapore

The fourth annual Insurance Risk and Finance Research Conference (IRFRC) took place on June 25 and 26, 2015, under the theme “Risk in Emerging Markets”.

The IRFRC is a research center, created jointly by SCOR and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), which sponsors insurance and insurance-related risk research specific to the Asia-Pacific region. In its very first year, the IRFRC became an instant reference on this topic in the region.
This year’s conference featured speakers from 13 countries, both from academia and industry. Following an opening speech by Gillian Yeo, NTU Associate Dean, SCOR’s Singapore Hub CEO Ben Ho welcomed the audience with a brief account of how far the collaboration between NTU and SCOR has progressed over the past four years, and a look ahead to many more fruitful years of cooperation between the two institutions.
Keynote speeches on regulatory issues, quantitative risk management and economics
Wai Yi Lee, Director & Head of the Supervisory Analytics Division, Insurance Department, Monetary Authority of Singapore, provided a regulator’s perspective on Risks in Emerging Markets and highlighted the key regulatory concerns and monitoring mechanisms.
Professor Paul Embrechts, from the Department of Mathematics at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, provided some valuable input into the benefits of quantitative models as well as their limitations, especially when employed on extreme observations.
Professor Christian Gollier of the Toulouse School of Economics, an expert on insurance economics and the economics of risk and time, shared his expertise on how asset pricing theory could be adapted to take into account the very long liability maturity of life insurers and pension funds.  
Focusing on cyber risks and on emerging markets
Looking ahead to the forthcoming challenges for the insurance industry, the conference included a panel discussion on the theme of cyber risk and its insurability. The panelists presented both the demand and supply side of cyber risk management and highlighted the challenges of presenting a universal definition of cyber risk across industries and countries, the scarcity of available data and also the evolution of cyber risk over the next few years, when the insurance industry is likely to increase its efforts to offer more comprehensive products in order to shift cyber risk away from individuals and corporations. Michel Dacorogna, Scientific Advisor at SCOR, and Roger Iles, Advisor to the Head of Risk Analysis & Reporting at SCOR Asia-Pacific, both took part in this session.
The rest of the conference was structured around two concurrent sessions, with a primary focus on risk in emerging markets such as China, India and the Middle East, among others.
In terms of topics, there was a wide variety of both life and non-life insurance presentations relating to catastrophe risk, equity-linked life insurance, the valuation of reverse mortgage contracts, underwriting cycles, multi-population longevity risk management and proposals for new risk measures relating to reserving and capital allocation for insurance companies.
The leading Journal of Risk and Insurance (JRI), published by the American Risk and Insurance Association, is planning to publish the best papers from the conference.