In the third episode of ‘Ganado meets Finance’ podcast, Matthew Bianchi, partner and head of the insurance practice at Ganado Advocates meets the Malta Insurance Managers’ Association Chairperson Elizabeth Carbonaro.
The podcast can be listened here:
The birth of the Malta Insurance Managers’ Association
Matthew Bianchi and Elizabeth Carbonaro trace back the roots of the Malta Insurance Managers’ Association (MIMA) to the early days of Malta’s EU membership in mid-2004.
With EU membership, Malta’s insurance market grew exponentially and Malta quickly became a thriving hub for pan-European insurance services driven by an instinct to innovate and improve.
As international conglomerates looked to Malta to establish their captive insurance companies or the head offices for their new EU-based insurance companies, the international insurance management groups soon established a foothold in Malta to service this new market.
It is these insurance management firms that eventually came together to set up MIMA. Bianchi was the first secretary of the association and Carbonaro was a founder member.
MIMA now represents all the active insurance managers including AON, Bee, Marsh, SRS, USA Risk Group, Willis and 2RSElmo which, in turn, manage most of the insurance companies established in Malta and writing business across Europe.
MIMA’s impact within the insurance industry
Carbonaro gives an insight into the role of MIMA within the insurance business ecosystem in Malta, especially in promoting Malta as an attractive jurisdiction for prospective insurers looking to set up their business in Malta.
She further highlights the various annual insurance conferences and surveys organised and coordinated by MIMA. She also fleshes out the role that MIMA plays when it comes to presenting the common interests of the insurance industry, where among others, she mentions the crucial role that MIMA played in the introduction of Solvency II.
Training of personnel working within the insurance industry is one of the points discussed at length. While recognising that MIMA has already been conducting insurance seminars and training for people who are already working in the insurance industry, Carbonaro notes that MIMA should now move towards addressing the student body and indicates that MIMA is keen to become more involved in the academic preparation of students wishing to join the insurance industry.
She notes that the financial services industry is often ‘undersold’ to students and insurance is no exception. The truth, she feels, is that insurance is a very attractive sector in Malta because it is largely an international practice in which people travel regularly and work with global brands from all corners of the globe.
New opportunities within the Maltese insurance market
Bianchi underscores the relevance of innovation in this sector as a driver for growth, pointing out the benefits of the Protected Cell Company (PCC) model and the opportunities being created in the insurance tech space.
Bianchi and Carbonaro both mention the array of advantages that the PCC model offers, from capital benefits that the model presents to cost-saving aspects.
Carbonaro says she is confident that Malta will be equally successful in the insurance tech area, particularly if we fuse this market with the efficiencies in the cellular model of a PCC.
Bianchi and Carbonaro look ahead at the prospect of a hardening insurance market and the opportunities this will generate in the captive market and PCC − which have historically tended to thrive in harder markets.