Losses to the insurance industry because of the September 11 attacks have been estimated in the $25 billion to $30 billion range, with some floating the figure as high as $50 billion, according to Insurancenewsnet.com. But for most insurance and financial services, the show will go on—eventually.
Of the four industry groups contacted, only one—the National Association of Insurance Commissioners —was forced to outright cancel a large event. The NAIC’s fall national meeting had been scheduled for September 22 to 25 at the Marriott and Westin Copley Place in Boston.
Practical logistics played a large part in the decision to cancel, noted Miriam Hennosy, senior meetings manager. Boston’s Logan International Airport was still closed the day the NAIC had to decide whether to proceed with the event. Approximately 1,600 attendees had been registered for the conference; Hennosy said there was concern that not enough people would be able to attend to reach a quorum, as many of the scheduled New York–based attendees had been temporarily reassigned to other state agencies to aid in the relief effort. A smaller, two-day NAIC summit was held in Washington, D.C., October 22 to 24 that focused on industry issues related to the attacks.
The NAIC usually holds four national conferences per year, with a number of interim meetings, said Hennosy. She expects some of those smaller meetings to be handled by conference calls, not so much because members are afraid to travel, but because teleconferencing saves time and money
The Independent Insurance Agents of America has made no changes in its meeting calendar because of the terrorist attacks, said spokesperson Nicole J. Larouere. The group held its Hawaii InfoXchange at the Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu October 27 to 30. Larouere noted the IIAA is happy with the estimated attendance of 1,500, although that is 500 less than expected pre–9/11.
LIMRA International, a worldwide association of insurance and financial services companies, made no changes in its annual meeting for 800 attendees October 28 to 30 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel & Towers. But it did cancel three concurrent conferences that were slated to begin in Chicago on September 12, said spokesperson Howard Drescher. Two were rescheduled for the same location in December, while the third will be held in conjunction with another event in April.
Drescher reported that a LIMRA Caribbean conference in late September was well-attended and that no future changes were planned because of the attacks. "We’re determined, like a lot of others, to run our business and keep moving forward."
The Insurance Conference Planners Association is proceeding as planned with its annual meeting November 11 to 15 in Nassau in the Bahamas, said Brett Barrowman, the incoming president of ICPA, when he spoke with ICP in early October. "People in other parts of the world have to deal with this kind of thing on a daily basis. This is the first time it’s ever happened on our shores," he said.
"We have to move forward. This is our business."
About 500 people were expected to attend the ICPA conference, on par with previous years. There were a few cancellations, but additional registrations took up the slack.