URS/PwC Annual Global Insurance Summit 2018 in Stresa

June 15th, 2018
Stresa, Italy



Isola Bella, Italy, home to the URS/PwC Annual Global Insurance Summit events, 2018




Ticket to Ride: A New Culture Between Emerging Needs and Demanding Regulation.



The second day of the URS/PwC Annual Global Insurance Summit was dedicated to the idea of adaptation within an ever-changing, truly modern world. Following the welcome remarks from Riccardo Nicolini, URS Head of Executive Committee, and Flavio Fidani, PwC Partner, came an invigorating and informative speech from internet entrepreneur Brad Templeton on computers driving cars and changing the world. As a developer of and commentator on self-driving cars, software architect, board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, futurist lecturer and consultant on Google’s team designing a driverless car, Mr. Templeton had much to share regarding the future and what it is likely to bring. He spoke about becoming fascinated with self-driving cars back in the 90’s; first, simply because he was very intrigued by the new technology, but later because his research revealed the truly immense numbers around cars that will be changed. Human drivers, Mr. Templeton explained, mean exponentially growing problems in terms of parking and emissions, while self-driving cars will provide self-parking, lane keeping warning signals and pedestrian as well as collision detection. Moreover, self-driving cars will help to fight the fact that over %40 of driving fatalities are the result of drunk driving. Self-driving cars don’t park, Mr. Templeton shared, they stand. These cars can stand in driveways, in front of hydrants, double and triple parked, and ready to move out of the way at any point if needed. Mr. Templeton says he believed from the very start that self-driving cars would be one of the largest computer-driven disruptions of the near future, and his dreams are now turning into reality.


Brad Templeton, giving his speech on Computers Driving Cars and Changing the World.



Dr. Julian Hosp, a world-renown Blockchain and Cryptocurrency expert spoke next. He shared some thoughts on current trends within the field of blockchain technology, the future of cryptocurrency and disruptive entrepreneurship. Dr. Hosp also shared the story of how he co-founded the Singapore based FinTech company TenX, one of the very few companies worldwide that makes multiple digital currencies instantly spendable anytime anywhere by offering a debit card payment system to its users. So far one was only able to exchange and hold cryptocurrencies like f.ex. or Bitcoin, but TenX has made it possible to actually spend those currencies just like our standard currency that has been around for centuries. TenX has partnered up with VISA to offer a VISA debit card to its customers. Dr. Hosp went on to share that he sees it as his vision to educate people all over the world; to make them “CryptoFit”. With how quickly everything is changing nowadays in the world, people are seeking opportunities to take control of their own finances and projects. This allows for a quicker turnaround time and much more control, as opposed to someone else taking care of it for you. It is for this reason, Dr. Hosp explained, that the importance of decentralization is growing exponentially. With the world changing so quickly, it is easy to become afraid and lost, but according to Dr. Hosp, one must take control in order not to fall behind. “If you are the one forming the future and embracing it, there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of.” Progress and growth are the powers that Dr. Hosp believes drive him towards success. According to him, these powers are what helped him to achieve so much in his life in such a short period of time: becoming a world-class professional kitesurfer, a medical surgeon, a best-selling author and an entrepreneur. His vision, as he puts it, is to have helped at least 1 billion individuals to understand the concept of blockchain by the year 2025.


Dr. Julian Hosp delivers his speech, Blockchain – more than CryptoCurrencies.



Following the presentations on computer-driven cars and blockchain technologies came a panel discussion, moderated by URS Co-Founder and Executive Director, Anya Kutsina. Ms. Kutsina was joined by Brad Templeton, Greg Richardson of TransRe, Columbia University Professor Assaf Zeevi, Carlo Coletta of SwissRe, Nazareno Cerni of Cattolica and Will Thorne of The Channel Syndicate. Titled Around the New Insurance World in 80 Minutes, the panel discussion focused on the idea of facing the “shocks”, disruptions, and exponentially-growing changes of every day in order to achieve a new level of thinking needed to survive in the world and in business in the 21st century. Each speaker shared their view on conducting business today, and the challenges of continuing to incorporate the basic principles which have been around for some time, while facing the disruptive forces like catastrophic events, global climate changes, continuously evolving technology, regulations that respond to these, etc. Panelists shared examples from their personal experience of being able to bring an old product to a new market. It was pointed out that while it is natural to feel threatened by the unabating speed of technological progress, it is nonetheless always important to be looking for ways to keep one’s company as proactive and current as possible, seeking out new opportunities for collaboration.

Another major subject that was touched on was the emerging presence of AI in our everyday lives and more specifically, in the Insurance and Re-Insurance worlds. Mr. Thorne and Professor Zeevi brought their academic views into the subject. Mr. Thorne, an innovative leader in the field, shared some inspiring success stories, pointing out the importance of implementing multiple new technological approaches into the fields of insurance and status-quo operations. Professor Zeevi shared his thoughts, stating that the concepts tied with the world of AI, which were once purely theoretical, are now becoming real, thanks to talented new generations of scholars that are properly equipped to deal with these challenges. What may have seemed futuristic just ten years before is now being brought to life. A chart borrowed from Nicolas Miailhe, President of the Future Society at Harvard Kennedy School, revealed that AI can be perceived as sitting at the intersection of three mega-trends: Machine Learning (also known as Deep Learning), Big Data, and Cloud Super-Computing. The discussion moved on to the advantages AI brings when it comes to memory, speed and accuracy. The advantage of AI lies in vast memory and the ability to instantly access  very large information databases, with the ability to process them practically instantaneously.

Ultimately, the panel acknowledged, that within the new world we live in today, there is no room for ignoring the necessity to conduct business in a different way. The question is just to be able to find the right ways in which to run a successful business while being able to implement the best of what the past and the future have to share.


Panel Discussion (left to right): Anya Kutsina, Professor Assaf Zeevi, Greg Richardson, Carlo Coletta, Nazareno Cerni, Will Thorne and Brad Templeton.





Below are some more pictures from this year’s URS/PwC Annual Global Insurance Summit. Enjoy!