Speaking at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to approximately 450 delegates from some of the world's leading organizations, Mr. O'Hara pointed out that while many companies in the insurance industry have taken steps to replenish their capital and to focus on strong underwriting discipline and sound risk management practices, companies must add value through other means.
He said: "Being in possession of the capital to back a promise to pay will get you into the marketplace. However, it may not adequately differentiate you from your equally well-capitalized competitors. Though we are proud of our unique track record for responsive claims payment, we are equally proud of the enabling culture behind it."
"Additionally," he stated, "the quantitative risk and capital metrics used by the rating agencies now play a bigger part in determining our ratings than the quality of the security of our risk transfer promise. However, we think quality is as important and is reflected in both our claims paying track record, particularly in the case of large, complex claims, and in our overall attitude towards the payment of legitimate claims. Both of these point to the strength of our underlying culture."
Mr. O'Hara said the P&C industry had demonstrated a "steely determination to endure in the face of severe adversity", despite the catastrophic losses of 2005.
But he added: "Resilience is not a given. It must come from a strong underwriting discipline, sound risk management practices, sensible use of reinsurance claims-paying capacity, and the ability to earn investment income, and culture and values".
During the conference, which carries the theme of "One World Without Borders", a diverse range of international speakers and panelists are critically examining major economic, political, and social issues with the aim of helping Congress attendees gain a better understanding of the changing face of risk and its evolving impact on the business world.
Speakers addressing XL Congress delegates include Richard Clarke, National Coordinator for Security (1992-2003); Mike Moore, Director of the World Trade Organization (1999-2002) and Prime Minister of New Zealand (1990); Steve Forbes, President and CEO Forbes Inc., Editor-in-Chief Forbes Magazine; Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF (1995-2005) and President and CEO of World Learning; Jack Welch, Chairman and CEO General Electric (1981-2001); His Excellency the Governor of Bermuda, Sir John Vereker (2002 - present); Jerry Linenger, NASA Astronaut (1992 - 1998); Jeremy Siegel, Professor of Finance, Wharton School of Business (1976 - present); and Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988-1990, 1993-1996). A panel discussion titled "Capital - Borderless - The Risks and Rewards" will also feature Paul A. McCulley, Managing Director - Pacific Investment Management Company LLC ("PIMCO"); Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer - BlackRock; Jonathan S. Jacobson, Co-Founder - Highfields Capital Management; and Daniel J. Fuss, Vice Chairman - Loomis, Sayles & Company, L.P.
An official Congress website containing speaker profiles, location details and other general information can be accessed at www.xlcongress.com/boston.
XL Capital Ltd, through its operating subsidiaries, is a leading provider of insurance and reinsurance coverages and financial products and services to industrial, commercial and professional service firms, insurance companies and other enterprises on a worldwide basis. As of June 30, 2006, XL Capital Ltd had consolidated assets of approximately $58.5 billion and consolidated shareholders' equity of $8.5 billion. More information about XL Capital Ltd is available at www.xlgroup.com.