The annual BIBA conference is always a frenetic 48 hours of networking, keynote sessions, meetings, and learning, and so what were the main things I am taking away this year…?

Notwithstanding the always revitalising good humour and enthusiasm of all those exhibitors and delegates in attendance over the two days, the conference never fails to deliver catalysts for ongoing debate. They sometimes come from the exceptional speakers (kudos to Steve White and the team for getting Gordon Brown on the roster this year!), and almost always there are interesting perspectives available when circulating the exhibition hall. 

The Brexit debate on Wednesday was interesting, perhaps more because of the questions that were asked by the audience than the actual debate itself. There is no doubt that opinion is split both in the insurance sector, and in the general population. I think they're are more undecided voters than either side is willing to admit...

Gordon Brown did an excellent job of highlighting the importance of China and the East in the global economic debate, and I look forward to seeing how this threat/opportunity is tackled by the Western insurance community as time progresses.

The biggest thing for me though, was how little noise was being made in the exhibition hall about the opportunities emerging technologies can provide for Brokers and their Clients. I spoke with Insurers, Claims Management Companies, SaaS providers, Relationship Managers, Brokers, Underwriters, and many others over the course of the conference. I heard a lot about new products, and saw how different software systems are being developed to enhance back office capabilities. I was given insight into growth strategies. People waxed lyrical on the quality of their offering. However, I heard very little about how anyone is seeking to enhance the customer journey, nor what businesses are doing to differentiate themselves in the digital age. The discussions were much the same as at previous events...

The BIBA conference is invariably a rewarding and enjoyable event, and this year was no different. Hopefully next year will see exhibitors offering up some alternative topics though...