Fallback terrorism capacity was high on the agenda at the DVS symposium in Munich

Fallback terrorism capacity was high on the agenda at the Deutscher Versicherungs-Schutzverband eV (DVS) symposium in Munich, Germany from September 12 to 13. The issue loomed high in a week that saw a foiled terror plot at a US military base near Trier and suggestions from the German government that it may not extend its guarantee for EXTREMUS AG, the national terrorism pool.

In the opening keynote speech, Brian O’Hara, chief executive officer of XL Capital, commented: ‘I feel EXTREMUS should be extended until 2010, and I would hope and guess that the publicity surrounding the recent terror plot in Germany should provide initiative to extend it beyond that time and perhaps to increase it.’

He added that he was not convinced that removing the block exemption would increase competition: ‘I think that the block exemption actually encourages the provision of robust insurance programmes in Europe by providing the legal certainty that is necessary for market stability and efficiency.’

O’Hara also spoke about class action lawsuits in France, what he called the US exporting liability culture to Europe: ‘Where Europe treads today is where the US walked 20 or 30 years ago.’

He warned the audience of German risk managers to keep an eye on European anti-discrimination law that could act as a driver for employment practices liability (EPL) insurance. ‘I remember when we were introducing the EPL product in France and the brokers said; “Well the women expect us to act that way,” so I guess it will be a while before it becomes really popular here.’

Other topics covered at the conference included: the new German insurance contract act expected to come into force in January 2008, the merits of a single EU regulator for the financial services industry, the decision to delay Solvency II, perspectives on D&O, the European environmental liability directive and global warming litigation in the US.

As well as hearing from a Bermudan insurer, the conference attendees listened to what Lloyd’s of London could offer buyers in continental Europe. Rolf Tolle, Lloyd’s director of franchise performance, said that the conditions were not right for the market to move strongly forward in Europe.

Günter Schlicht, managing director of the DVS, commented: ‘This was not altogether satisfactory from a client’s point of view, but very interesting nonetheless.’