Distinguished Specialty was a proud sponsor of the 2015 Marsh Global Real Estate & Hospitality Conference in Chicago on October 27-28. CEOs, CFOs, risk managers, and other senior executives were among the 200 industry professionals who gathered to explore the latest risk management trends and learn how to manage uncertainty and risk to create growth.
Catch some of our thoughts on the event and highlights from conversations in Chicago below, courtesy of Distinguished Speciality President Brooks Chase, who represented the team on-site.
Marsh does a great job executing this event. It is dense with information, generated from interesting speakers and panels. One very insightful and entertaining moment was an economic update by Professor Sergio Rebelo of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Professor Rebelo highlighted that while the U.S. has been in a sustained recovery, we have just reached the point where we were pre-recession in 2007. Housing starts are strong but not on fire. The only real estate sector Rebelo believes to be overheated is apartment construction. That said, the U.S. has become the venue of choice for foreign capital, with much of Europe and developing economies like Latin America, once a darling of investors, teetering towards a deep recession or otherwise unattractive.
There is a tremendous amount of capital fueling the real estate industry and the same can be said for the insurance business. The industry has never been more flush with cash, which is resulting in creative alternatives to traditional risk transfer vehicles. Financial instruments like cat bonds and sidecar agreements are forcing the insurance industry to be more creative in order to protect its turf. No one sees a “hard market” on the horizon as long as capital is so plentiful.
Overall this is one of the most interesting industry events I attend. The timing of the event, coupled with being the only non-insurance company sponsor and panel participant, presented the perfect opportunity to introduce our new brand, get to know other stakeholders in our industry, and answer questions about who Distinguished Speciality is following our recent merger of NSU with Fulcrum Insurance Programs.