Geneva Association

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The Geneva Association
The Geneva Assoc.jpg
Type Non-profit organisation
Membership A maximum of 90 CEOs from insurance companies around the world
General Secretariat Geneva,   Switzerland

The Geneva Association is an international think tank for strategically important insurance and risk management issues.

The Geneva Association identifies fundamental trends and strategic issues where insurance plays a substantial role or which influence the insurance sector. Through the development of research programmes, regular publications and the organisation of international meetings, The Geneva Association aims to enhance the understanding of risk and insurance matters and acts as an information creator and disseminator. It acts as the voice of the largest insurance groups worldwide in the dialogue with international institutions. In parallel, it advances—in economic and cultural terms—the development and application of risk management and the understanding of uncertainty in the modern economy.

In this role, it is primarily concerned with studying climate risk and the role insurance can play in disaster risk reduction; the rising costs related to ageing populations, either in long-term care, age-related illnesses such as dementia, or retirement funding; liability concerns; and the issue of financial stability in insurance and the development of an efficient regulatory framework.

Established in 1973, The Geneva Association, officially the “International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics”, is based in Geneva, Switzerland and is a non-profit organisation funded by its members.

The Geneva Association membership comprises a statutory maximum of 90 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) from the world’s top insurance and reinsurance companies. It organises international expert networks and manages discussion platforms for senior insurance executives and specialists as well as policy-makers, regulators and multilateral organisations. The Chairman of The Geneva Association is currently Mike McGavick, CEO of XL Group.

The General Secretariat handles the daily operations of the Association. Its work is directed by the Secretary General, and the Deputy Secretary General and Head of Research. Currently these positions are held respectively by John Fitzpatrick and Dr Shaun Wang.

All of The Geneva Association's activities are pursued by means of research, publications and the organisation of international conferences. In addition, The Geneva Association organises international expert networks and manages discussion platforms for senior insurance executives and specialists as well as policy-makers, regulators, academics and international organisations. The Geneva Association’s annual General Assembly is the most prestigious gathering of leading insurance CEOs worldwide. Speakers at The Geneva Association’s seminars have included Nobel Prize winners such as Kenneth J. Arrow, Josef Stiglitz, as well as important figures of the political and economic arena such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.


The Geneva Association was founded under the initiative of a committee which met for the first time in Paris on 22 September 1971. This founding committee was constituted by the following people:

  • Mr. Emil Frey, General Manager, Mannheimer Versicherung (Mannheim);
  • Mr. Georges Martin, President, Royale Belge (Brussels);
  • Mr. Ernst Meyer, General Manager, Allianz (Munich);
  • Mr. Fabio Padoa, Administrator, Assicurazioni Generali (Trieste); and,
  • Mr. Bernard Pagezy, President, La Paternelle (Paris).

The Constitutive Assembly of The Geneva Association took place in Paris on 27 February 1973, at the headquarters of La Paternelle (today part of the AXA Group). The following companies were represented by their President or CEO: Allianz, Münchener Rück, Aachener & Münchener, and Victoria for Germany; Commercial Union, Royal and Mercantile & General for the United Kingdom; Erste Allgemeine for Austria; Royale Belge for Belgium; UAP, AGF, Paternelle, Préservatrice and SAFR for France; Generali, RAS, Reale Mutua, INA and Fondiaria for Italy; Nationale Nederlanden for the Netherlands, and Swiss Re for Switzerland.

The first president of The Geneva Association was Prof. Raymond Barre, French Prime Minister from 1976 to 1981.

The Geneva Association was established for the purpose of promoting economic research in the sector of risk and insurance.

Former Presidents of The Geneva Association:

  • Mr Raymond Barre †, Paris (1973-1976)
  • Mr Fabio Padoa †, Trieste (1976-1983)
  • Mr Julius Neave †, London (1983-1986)
  • Prof. Dr Dr e.h. Reimer Schmidt †, Aachen (1986-1990)
  • Sir Brian Corby, London (1990-1993)
  • Drs. Jan H. Holsboer, Amsterdam (1993-1999)
  • Mr Walter Kielholz, Zurich (1999-2003)
  • Mr Henri de Castries, Paris (2003-2008)
  • Mr Martin J. Sullivan, New York (2008)
  • Mr Jacques Aigrain, Zurich (2008-2009)
  • Dr Nikolaus von Bomhard, Münich (2009-2013)

Former Secretaries General of The Geneva Association:

  • Prof. Orio Giarini, Geneva (1973–2000)
  • Mr Patrick M. Liedtke, Geneva (2000–2012)


Today, The Geneva Association has members from 28 countries around the world. Its members are the Chief Executive Officers of the largest insurance companies in the world and they are members in a personal capacity. The statutory limit to the number of members is 90. Applications of new members are examined by the Board of Directors at the proposal of the Chairman and, if recommended, are submitted to the General Assembly for approval by majority vote.

Key research topics[edit]

Financial Stability and Regulation[edit]

After the financial crisis erupted in 2008, The Geneva Association set up a special working group specifically to analyse the relationship between systemic risk, financial stability and insurance. The Association has since published ten reports, studies or articles[2] on various aspects of financial stability and regulation in insurance, including the identification of systemic risk, designation methodology, surrenders, insurance and resolution, variable annuities, and global capital standards.

Through both the Insurance and Finance and PROGRES programmes of The Geneva Association, there has been an ongoing dialogue with the IAIS and other supervisory bodies. In the discussions on systemic risk regulation however, a multitude of organisations such as the G-20, the IMF, the OECD to name but a few, have become involved and influential in the setting of new insurance systemic risk regulations. As a result, the Association has broadened its discussions and on several occasions, has engaged these other organisations directly in the form of open letters or comments to address points made.

Climate Risk[edit]

In May 2008, following a mandate from its Members at the 2008 General Assembly, The Geneva Association began its Climate Change and Insurance (CC+I) research project in response to one of the most multi-faceted challenges to the insurance industry since its inception.

On 6 September 2010, The Geneva Association and three other initiatives (ClimateWise, MCII and UNEP-FI) launched a Joint Statement that calls on governments worldwide to harness risk management techniques and insurance expertise to help implement climate change adaptation measures in the developing world. In the context of the increasing economic and human costs of climate change in the developing world, the statement seeks to highlight how governments can unlock significant potential to increase the protection and reduce the vulnerability of developing world populations and economies.

“The insurance industry is uniquely positioned to provide specialised services for countries and businesses facing climate risks worldwide. Insurers have the expertise to develop a broad range of affordable private insurance solutions for climate risks. Insurance mechanisms are an effective tool to promote climate related risk management and reduction; The Geneva Association recognises that no stakeholder can succeed alone in solving the challenges of climate change. Insurance can and should be a strong complementary mechanism in a wider framework of adaptation.” (The Kyoto Statement of The Geneva Association, 29 May 2009).

In 2011, the name of the project was changed to Climate Risk and Insurance (CR+I). The objectives of the climate-linked research are to identify and analyse:

  • issues that are of specific relevance to the insurance industry, such as the likely range of future claims costs, new business opportunities and scenario testing; and
  • external challenges to be addressed at the political, educational and social levels, such as the role of governments and public-private cooperation, to mitigate the impact of natural catastrophes.

To this end, The Geneva Association has issued several reports and studies on climate risk and disaster reduction,[3] such as a review of 2011 marked in particular by the tsunami in Japan and, most recently, a study on the warming of the oceans.

The Climate Risk Statement

On 20 May 2014 following The Geneva Association's 41st General Assembly in Toronto, 67 Chief Executives of the world’s leading insurers confirmed their commitment to The Geneva Association’s Climate Risk Statement―a set of guiding principles on the substantial role insurance can play in global efforts to tackle climate-related risks. The statement provides the foundations on which the direction of future climate-related initiatives by The Geneva Association will be based.

This Statement confirms the Kyoto Statement signed in 2009, with additional signatures and reflecting the latest scientific evidence. Michael Butt, Chairman of AXIS Capital and Co-Chair of the Climate Risk and Insurance working group, said: "The Climate Risk Statement Provides a reference point for policymakers, non-governmental organisations, customers, as well as the insurance industry itself, on the ways in which insurance can complement global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Our industry can make a considerable contribution to global efforts to reduce the impact of climate change, but reaching its full potential will require greater collaboration with governments and global governance bodies such as the United Nations."

The Statement received the full support of former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, who spoke at The Geneva Association's General Assembly in Toronto: "The insurance industry has long ago taken the initiative on climate risk, and with this statement commits to do even more. As an industry it has the capacity to work with policymakers on the mitigation of climate-related risks. If market forces are leveraged and elected officials and regulators are engaged wisely, insurers have so much to offer, and can help the world deal with this serious issue. Most people don't want to think about long-term risk. Now that our world is facing the gravest risks it has ever faced, the world should turn to insurers for advice. In turn, insurers must be more vocal about the challenges they see."

Global Ageing[edit]

The cost of pensions and retirement policy challenges are among the key issues in policy responses to the European sovereign debt crisis since 2010. The challenge of financing retirement is largely due to improved longevity and lower fertility rates that are not properly represented in the cost of retirement.[4] Adding to this concern about how to support a growing number of pensions living longer lives is the increase in age-related illnesses such as dementia, and the health-care costs of an ageing population.

The Geneva Association has been studying these issues through its Life and Pensions and Health and Ageing programmes for many years proposing solutions to the challenges they raise that are now more urgently needed than ever.[5]

The Public Pensions Crisis in the U.S.

On 3 December 2013, Detroit became the largest city in the U.S. to become legally eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Its ballooning deficits and large pension shortfall are not an isolated case, however. Across the country, states have posted funding shortfalls or more than a trillion dollars.

In its report on this crisis, The Geneva Association examines the issues at the root of this crisis and suggests that the non-payment of annual required contributions and an unbalanced structure to pension planning are among the most significant challenges to overcome.

Executive summary of the report

• A 2010 report by the Pew Center on the States highlights the trillion-dollar shortfall facing state and local retirement systems in the U.S. due to policy choices and a lack of fiscal discipline, namely the failure to make annual payments for pensions systems at actuarially recommended levels and expanding benefits without considering their long-term costs. The majority of states (34) have a funding level below 80 per cent.

• The Geneva Association has long advocated a four-pillar approach to sound pension planning: (1) a universal public system such as Social Security, (2) an occupational pensions system supported by employers under government financial supervision, (3) private savings using financial intermediaries and (4) continued employment, through the removal of barriers to partial employment of retirees.

• Excessive reliance on one of the four pillars—particularly a public system or private savings only—strains public finances and/or an individual’s ability to finance retirement adequately. The Geneva Association has also highlighted the unnecessary losses of human capital resulting from restrictions on the employment of retirees. Human capital, i.e. the ability to earn income, should be valued, particularly in societies with ageing populations.

• The Geneva Association calls for more in-depth study of solutions to the pension crisis the U.S.

Liablity Regimes and Dynamics[edit]

The effective management of risk requires an understanding of the nature of the risk and forces that influence its frequency and severity (the dynamics) as well as the laws, economic conditions and social forces (the regimes) that shape and change the ways in which the risk is processed.

The Geneva Association has been studying for several years the changing nature of liability insurance and emerging trends in tort law, such as scientists being held criminally responsible for not issuing an appropriate earthquake warning ahead of the 6.3 magnitude quake that devastated L'Aquila in Italy in 2009.[6]

In another liability shift which concerns insurance companies as financial institutions, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently accepted a proposal, put forward by Boston Common Asset Management, that allows the shareholders of the bank PNC to question the institution about its financing of climate change.[7]

The Geneva Association continues to publish key documents on these issues.[8]

Research programmes[edit]

The Geneva Association develops only limited “in-house” research. Rather it devotes resources—both financial and project management—to outside research sources and stimulates other institutions and academia to address the right research topics. It manages a focused portfolio of research projects and priorities, which it reviews regularly with the help of the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Board. The discussions throughout the year with members, and especially the General Assembly, are fundamental and highly valuable sources of information on the development of research activities. The research programmes try to identify fundamental trends and strategic issues where insurance plays an increasing role in modern society. Other sources of information for potential research activities are, besides the usual sources of information, the expert conferences and seminars that are organised throughout the year and the various networks of contacts established by the research programmes during the past three decades. To study in depth some key questions that appear relevant to insurance activities, The Geneva Association has set up the following programmes:[9]

Insurance Economics[edit]

This research programme comprises the theoretical and academic activities of the Association. It is dedicated to:

  • making an original contribution to the progress of insurance through promoting studies of the interdependence between economics and insurance;
  • highlighting the importance of risk and insurance economics as part of the modern general economic theory;
  • detecting and defining special aims for research programmes in risk and insurance economics;
  • stimulating and supporting academic and professional research work in risk and insurance economics throughout the world; and,
  • diffusing knowledge and the results of research in risk and insurance economics worldwide.

Various networks and activities are linked to this research programme as follows:

EGRIE (European Group of Research and Insurance Economists) EGRIE is a European-based non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting academic and professional research on risk and insurance. This is mainly achieved through the organisation of scientific conferences and meetings, the publication of research materials and the creation of a contact network amongst the concerned parties. EGRIE was created by The Geneva Association in 1973 and has been supported by the Association since then. For any further information regarding EGRIE activities, and in particular past and future seminars, please visit the EGRIE website.

ACCE (Amsterdam Circle of Chief Economists) ACCE was created in 1999 by The Geneva Association with the objective of bringing together a special group of insurance economists and strategists that can interchange ideas and visions. The group gathers annually to discuss current and strategic economic issues in insurance.

The Geneva Association/EALE collaboration Collaboration between The Geneva Association and the European Association for Law and Economics (EALE) has developed since 1985 to promote the cross-fertilisation between law and economics in insurance. Every two years joint seminars are organised and legal issues linked to insurance are discussed by academics and professionals in the field. Contributions to the seminars are published in a special half-issue of The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance—Issues and Practice.

WRIEC (World Risk and Insurance Economics Congress) The purposes of the WRIEC are to stimulate corporate awareness and interest in risk-related research and to provide a forum for networking among academics and industry and government professional worldwide. The Congress is open to "all persons" who share an interest in promoting education and research in the broad areas of risk and insurance. The European Group of Risk and Insurance Economists (EGRIE), the Asia-Pacific Risk and Insurance Association (APRIA), The American Risk and Insurance Association (ARIA) and The Geneva Association jointly organise the meetings which take place every five years.

Risk Management[edit]

This programme is an integral part of The Geneva Association's dialogue with economic and academic actors in order to emphasise the role of insurance in a modern service economy. The focus of the Risk Management Programme is to:

  • provide a platform between the insurance community, the engineering and academic communities and policy-makers to discuss issues on balancing risks and opportunities;
  • be a facilitator for the Chief Risk Officers (CROs) of The Geneva Association, and CROs in general;
  • foster the use of the tools of risk assessment and risk management in new fields of application, such as policy-making;
  • promote the concept of the insurability of risks as the “natural” borderline between State legislation and the market economy;
  • identify new opportunities for insurers in the emerging sustainability concept in order to enlarge the field of insurable and insured risks; and,
  • research and illustrate the new risks in the emerging service economy, based on an extended performance responsibility of economic actors.

The main tools to achieve these objectives are:

  • the Risk Management Newsletter, published biannually;
  • the M.O.R.E. (Management of Risks in the Economy) Seminars, open to an expert public. The papers of the seminars are published in the Working Paper series Etudes et Dossiers;
  • Chief Risk Officer (CRO) Assemblies. The Geneva Association, jointly with its members, is organising a series of regular events to promote the understanding about modern Risk Management in insurance and the role of CROs. This is done through a series of workshops and studies and the initiatives in this area. Namely;
  • the ART of CROs meetings (Annual Round Table of Chief Risk Officers), open to CROs of The Geneva Association’s members;
  • the Annual CRO Assemblies open to CROs from all insurance companies and related sectors (by invitation only).

Life and Pensions[edit]

The Life and Pensions Programme of The Geneva Association, formally known as "The Four Pillars", is a research programme set up in 1987 with the aim of studying the key importance in the new service economy of Social Security, Insurance, Savings and Employment. The programme focuses on the future of pensions, welfare and employment. The research has been initiated because of:

  • the complementary natures of social security and insurance;
  • the changing conditions of the welfare State, employment and the life-cycles;
  • changing demographics and their impact on financing retirement and old age.

The concept of the Four Pillars owes its origin to the fact that, in most countries, the funding of pensions is based on three pillars:

  • the 1st pillar – the compulsory, pay-as-you-go, State pension;
  • the 2nd pillar – the supplementary (often funded-based) occupational pension;
  • the 3rd pillar – individual savings (personal pension and assets and life insurance).

In its publications and seminars, The Geneva Association has advocated the adaptation of the first pillar, a strengthening of the second pillar and further development of third pillar resources. More recently, its attention has focused above all on a fourth pillar, which is the need for a flexible extension of work-life, mainly on a part-time basis, in order to supplement income from the three existing pillars for future years.

Demographic trends—especially increased life expectancy—could be seen as positive if it were possible to devise ways in which populations that age in good health can and should make a valid economic and social contribution to the functioning of the service economies over the decades to come.

The research programme has four main objectives:

  • analysis of the key elements in organising old-age security systems;
  • research of conditions for multi-pillar systems of pension financing;
  • encouragement of multiple and complementary solutions to the challenges of a changing welfare state;
  • understanding the role of insurance in the provision of old-age security systems.

In 2007, the Leuphana University of Lüneburg and The Geneva Association established the Silver Workers Institute following an important empirical survey of post-retirement activities – economic and voluntary work by mostly retired persons – in Germany. The Silver Workers Institute is closely related to the Life and Pensions programme and is an independent, apolitical research and advisory centre based in Geneva (Switzerland) with an international focus on labour/work issues for seniors engaged in any productive activity, from both a company and public policy perspective.

Regulation and Supervision (PROGRES)[edit]

The PROGRES name stands for Research PROGramme on REgulation, Supervision and legal issues in insurance. It focuses on questions related to regulation, supervision and international co-operation of insurance and financial services as well as other legal issues of importance. The research programme manages The Geneva Association’s co-operation with the supervisory authorities around the world and in particular with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

The need for PROGRES stems from:

  • increased regulatory penetration of the finance and insurance industry and the growth of regulation culture;
  • increased weight of the regulatory costs and risks for the business activities;
  • increased globalization of the financial regulation;
  • increased sophistication of the global financial regulatory infrastructure;
  • increased convergence of the financial sector regulatory standards.

The main objectives of PROGRES are:

  • to contribute to global regulatory work streams;
  • to contribute to regulatory models and policies;
  • to create an ongoing regulatory cooperation platform;
  • to promote best regulatory and supervisory practices;
  • to promote best management practices in regulatory functions in insurance companies.

Implementation of PROGRES objectives is supported by the Progres.Net Forum activities by means of:

  • face-to-face meetings of participants;
  • tailored conferences and workshops;
  • organisation and support of regulatory focused research;
  • sponsoring of relevant publications;
  • sponsoring Regulatory Awards System for media, standard-setters, etc.;
  • watching the watchdogs.

The semi-annual PROGRES Newsletter provides a platform for discussion on most topical issues in current changes in regulations and supervision country-wise and world-wide. Books dedicated to special regulatory issues of interest to international insurance community are published on occasional basis.

Since 1983, PROGRES has provided an annual forum and focal point for up to 60 specialist inter-disciplinary participants, including private sector practitioners and experts from representative organisations, academics, officials from governments and intergovernmental organisations. A series of seminars annually address the advancement of current regulatory and legal debates and issues as well as trade and international cooperation issues in an informal way.

The IAIS and The Geneva Association

High-level meetings (HLM) between the IAIS and The Geneva Association were established in 2008. The meetings are an informal platform for reviewing and providing input into global regulatory and supervisory agenda and create a mechanism for the discussion of emerging issues. For the first time in 2010 the meeting was organised back-to-back with the PROGRES regulatory seminar, which indicates the programme’s central role in the regulatory debate.

Health and Ageing[edit]

This programme seeks to bring together analyses, studies, and research linked to issues in health provision and the role of insurance, with an emphasis on the changing demographic structure whereby the population over 60 largely exceeds that of other groups. The key is to test new and promising ideas, linking them to related works and initiatives in the health sector and trying to find solutions for the future financing of healthcare. The programme develops its activities through a variety of means including the regular Health & Ageing conferences and symposiums, books and special issues on health of The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance—Issues and Practice.

The following issues are of particular interest to the programme:

  • the impact of an ageing population on health insurance systems;
  • the effect of technology on health insurance;
  • the development of healthcare systems and the capitalisation issue;
  • the interaction of public and private systems in health provision;
  • the performance of health systems;
  • the health issues for an ageing population in the workplace;
  • the factors influencing health status;
  • the factors responsible for the increase in health spending; and
  • the factors that contain the increase in health costs.

Insurance and Finance[edit]

The research programme on insurance and finance comprises academic and professional research activities in the fields of finance where they are relevant to the insurance and risk management sector. The research programme engages in:

  • highlighting issues of key importance;
  • promoting studies of the function of finance in insurance;
  • discussing the relevance of financial concepts and instruments to the industry;
  • detecting new and promising theoretical developments; and
  • diffusing knowledge and the results of research worldwide.

Financial Stability in Insurance[edit]

The credit crisis that had its origins in the U.S. subprime market troubles in summer 2007 spread to other countries and other asset classes as well as the wider economy with a vengeance. Already during the first phase of the crisis, when some banks and financial guarantors began running into severe and in some cases ultimately bankruptcy-triggering problems, The Geneva Association considered the risks that this financial crisis might pose for the insurance industry. In 2008, a dedicated working group of chief economists from some leading international insurance companies set out to analyse the crisis and carry out joint work that would provide special insights into the nature of the credit crisis and its consequences for insurance.

At the centre of the endeavours of this working group were the following sets of questions:

  • What happened in the financial markets?
  • What were the origins of the crisis, what were its triggers and possibly reinforcing elements?
  • How did subsequent events develop?
  • To what extent was and is the insurance industry affected?
  • How do overall losses compare to the losses of the insurance sector?
  • How should the crisis be interpreted from an insurance point of view?
  • Is there a systematic threat to the insurance industry?
  • Is there a systematic threat emanating from the insurance industry?
  • What are the conclusions for the insurance sector?
  • Are there (already) some lessons to be learned?
  • What is the impact on regulatory debates (solvency reforms, IFRS proposals, etc.)?
  • How are newer business trends like securitisation of insurance risks affected?

Following The Geneva Association Board Meeting in January 2009, a special high-level working group was set up to track the G-20 activities and negotiations: the Market Stability Working Group. The Market Stability Working Group united leading experts from some of the most prominent international insurance groups, including Allianz, Aviva, AXA, Generali, ING, Prudential Financial, Prudential plc, Munich Re, SCOR, Swiss Re, Tokio Marine, and Zurich Financial.

Systemic Risk in Insurance[edit]

Following the financial crisis, The Group of Twenty (G-20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors asked the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to develop methodologies to identify financial institutions that: (i) can cause impairment to all or parts of the financial system; and, (ii) have potentially serious negative consequences for the real economy. The FSB included the insurance industry in this mandate and asked the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) to develop a process which would aid the FSB in designating SIFIs in insurance.

The Insurance and Finance Programme, with its regulatory interests and interface with the IAIS alongside the PROGRES research programme has been deeply involved in these initiatives and has taken an active role in developing studies, presentations and letters to illustrate issues from an industry perspective.

These efforts are the culmination of a large amount of analytical work by The Geneva Association to provide relevant and proper tools for regulators in their mission of selecting indicators to identify systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) in the insurance sector. The Insurance and Finance Programme organised the Financial Stability Steering Committee and Working group into six work streams:

  • selection of potentially systemically risky activities (pSRAs);
  • measurements of indicators;
  • resolvability/resolution;
  • translation of risk assessment of indicators into supervisor methodology;
  • reputational risk for the industry; and,
  • AIG case study.

Based on its recent Financial Stability research, The Geneva Association points out the following important points for consideration in the regulatory decisions regarding SIFIs in insurance:

  • Core insurance activities are not a source of risk to the financial and economic system. Key elements of The Geneva Association findings supported by the global industry are:
  • Business models and roles in the economy of insurers and banks are different:
  • traditional insurance activities have an inverted cycle of production (pre-funding of liabilities),
  • asset liability management is a key characteristic of insurance activities,
  • banks are traditionally involved in maturity transformation (borrow short-term to lend long-term), while insurers typically do not take such risks.
  • The insurance sector is stabilising because of its shock-absorbing capacity and its long-term investment horizon.
  • Insurance companies have a proven and sound resolution mechanism that enables an orderly wind down over time.
  • No core insurance activity has ever triggered a systemic financial crisis.
  • There are however two potentially systemically risky activities that require further assessment:
  • Derivatives speculation/ financial guarantees, and,
  • Mismanaging short-term funding.
  • In responding to G-20/FSB, it is important that the IAIS develop an adequate methodology with appropriate instruments to:
  • directly assess the sources of systemic risk, i.e. activities which could be potentially systemically risky (as per FSB/IAIS criteria);
  • apply indicators specific to the systemic risk activities to identify potential global SIFIs.

Research by The Geneva Association shows that indicators designed for banks or based on characteristics that are alien to the insurance business are not a viable solution for the identification of insurance SIFIs. Indicators that deal with institutions in a general way (rather than risky activities specifically) are equally inappropriate for insurance.

Meetings, seminars and conferences[edit]

To achieve its main goals, The Geneva Association organises or co-organises a number of meetings, seminars and conferences. The most important meeting of The Geneva Association is its General Assembly that takes place every year. At this occasion, key economic issues are discussed by members, the CEOs of the world’s leading insurers, special observers including regulators and guest speakers from inside and outside the industry. In 2010, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, provided a keynote speech. Stemming from General Assemblies, as of 2010, The Geneva Association produces General Assembly Reviews, giving a hindsight view of discussions and presentations having taken place at the meeting. The Geneva Association regularly organises international conferences which are linked to its research programmes.[10] For a full list of upcoming conferences, please click here.

Prizes, Research Grants, Awards[edit]

In its role of promoting research in risks and insurance economics, The Geneva Association also awards a series of prizes and research grants every year. It also awards two research grants for submissions, usually in the form of a doctoral thesis, carried out in the field of risk and insurance economics. Subsidies of up to CHF 3,000 are also granted to authors of university theses on risk and insurance economics to help defray printing costs and to support the publication of high quality work.

The Geneva Association / IIS Research Awards The Geneva Association and the International Insurance Society (IIS) have joined in a programme with business leaders in insurance to sponsor applied research in the insurance area. The purpose of the research programme is to create original, practically oriented research which addresses current business issues and problems of concern to senior insurance executives around the world. The programme is designed to fulfill a need of business to investigate subjects which directly influence daily business operations and operational business concerns or issues on a practical level. Researchers present the research selected to business executives at the yearly meeting of the International Insurance Society. The research is published and distributed by both the IIS and The Geneva Association in a special edition of The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance—Issues and Practice. Research Awards for the best-qualified papers are presented in an amount up to $10,000.

The Ernst-Meyer Prize The Geneva Association awards every year the prestigious Ernst-Meyer Prize for university research work, usually in the form of a doctoral thesis, which makes a significant and original contribution to the study of risk and insurance economics.

Research Grants Every year, the Association offers two grants for research into risk and insurance economics, on various subjects in economic theory and practice.


The Geneva Association publications take six different forms in addressing its various audiences:

  • Two academic journals, The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance—Issues and Practice and The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review (formerly The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory);
  • Research reports, presentations and white papers on key issues of concern to the industry, policymakers and academics:
  • Ad hoc reports on major themes discussed throughout a part of the year, otherwise known as The Geneva Reports;
  • Seven different newsletters;
  • Conference Papers, or working papers from conferences and meetings; and,
  • Books written by The Geneva Association staff and/or external collaborators.

The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance—Issues and Practice[11][12] Founded in 1976 and published quarterly by Palgrave, The Geneva Papers publish papers which both improve the scientific knowledge of the insurance industry and stimulate constructive dialogue between the industry and its economic and social partners. It is essential reading for insurance academics and researchers, insurance industry executives and other professionals who are searching for a deeper insight into the strategic options for their sector. It bridges the gap between these groups, highlighting overlapping areas of interest and providing mutually beneficial research and dialogue.

The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review[13][14] targets academics and university scholars in economics. The Review is published by Palgrave Macmillan in annual volumes of two issues. Its purpose is to support and encourage research in the economics of risk, uncertainty, insurance and related institutions by providing a forum for the scholarly exchange of findings and opinions.

Research reports, presentations and white papers [15] The Geneva Association publishes research on key issues such as financial stability and climate risk (e.g. ocean warming). It issues presentations in support of its research (e.g. a cross-industry benchmark study comparing the 28 banks designed as 'global systemically important' and 28 of the largest global insurers), while white papers are intended primarily to respond to draft policy papers presented for public consultation by regulatory bodies.

The Geneva Reports [16] Series tackles issues of strategic importance to the insurance industry that warrant special attention and particular analysis. The series is published on an “as appropriate basis” and is available both in printed and electronic versions. Topics covered have included the effects of climate change, disaster risk reduction, global ageing and retirement funding, and the credit crisis.

Newsletters [17] Seven newsletters on the main research activities, as well as on World Fire Statistics, are published throughout the year. They are published biannually, except for Insurance and Finance and the World Fire Statistics. They are disseminated in hard copy and in the form of e-newsletters.

Conference Papers [18] These are the working paper series of The Geneva Association. These documents present intermediary or final results of conference proceedings, special reports and research done by The Geneva Association. Most of these documents are available freely on The Geneva Association’s virtual library, except for those in restricted use, which remain in the private area. The Geneva Association Working Paper Series Etudes et Dossiers appear at irregular intervals about 10-12 times per year. Distribution is limited. Hard copies are automatically sent to all of The Geneva Association’s members.

Books The Geneva Association publishes books in relation with its research programmes, such as reports on systemic risk and insurance, inter alia the seminal report on Systemic Risk in Insurance - An analysis of insurance and financial stability published in March 2010, and the book The Performance Economy republished end of 2010. All information on Geneva Association publications can be found in the Compendium of Publications.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ See "The History of The Geneva Association" by Orio Giarini:
  2. ^ Key documents in financial stability and regulation:
  3. ^ Key documents on climate risk:
  4. ^ Cigno. A (1995) "Public Pensions with endogeneous fertility", Journal of Public economics, 57, 169-173.
  5. ^ Key documents on global ageing:
  6. ^ "Italian scientists who failed to predict L'Aquila earthquake may face manslaughter charges" -
  7. ^ PR Newswire: "Shareholders to question bank about its financing of climate change" -
  8. ^ Key documents for liability regimes and dynamics:
  9. ^ "Research Programmes". The Geneva Association. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  10. ^ "Events". The Geneva Association. Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
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  15. ^,-presentations,-white-papers
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