19 November 2012

Thirty one associations of insurers (including the Polish Insurance Association), representing 87 percent of the worldwide insurance business, established on 9 October 2012 the Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA).

“It’s a great day for the insurance industry around the world. The Federation will give our associations the ability to respond on a timely basis to international issues affecting our industry and to speak with one voice” – said Frank Swedlove, newly-elected GFIA Chairman and President of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. “I am honored to have the opportunity to be the inaugural chair of the federation and will strive to ensure that our industry’s views are heard.”

Peter Braunmüller, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), welcomed the new organization, stating: “As the global insurance standard setter, the IAIS values greatly the contributions of IAIS observers – who represent international institutions, professional associations and insurance and reinsurance companies – to the development and implementation of IAIS supervisory material. We look forward to working with the GFIA and its members as we all continue to promote effective and globally-consistent supervision of the insurance industry.”

Recaredo Arias, Secretary General of FIDES (Inter-American Federation of Insurance Companies) was elected Vice-Chairman of the new federation. The founding member associations also elected a Secretary of the federation, Michaela Koller, Director General of Insurance Europe. This means that Insurance Europe will undertake the significant work that will be required to support the initiatives of the new Federation in all key areas of concern to the global insurance industry.

The GFIA will be active in commenting on a broad range of issues affecting the international insurance industry, including developments in the systemic risk debate: the work of the IAIS in developing ComFrame, i.e. the common framework for the supervision of international groups; business ethics and trade issues as well as initiatives in relation to financial inclusion and anti-money laundering.

Governor Dirk Kempthorne, President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, who chaired the GFIA’s inaugural meeting in Washington, stated: “THIS is indeed a historic day. Regulation of the insurance industry is increasingly being set internationally. The establishment of the GFIA will allow the industry to work more closely with international regulators in the development of sound and balanced regulation.”

Based on data from Swiss Re, direct gross premiums written by insurers worldwide amounted to USD 4.5 trillion in 2011. Members of the GIFA represent insurers who collected 87% of this amount. Associations of insurers from around the world have cooperated informally with each other for many years, most recently under the formula of the International Network of Insurance Associations (INIA). A formal worldwide federation of insurers with a global reach was formed for the first time. A website of the federation will be launched soon: www.GFIAinsurance.org.