RISKbitz: Player’s guide to the Rendez-Vous

RISKbitz: Player’s guide to the Rendez-Vous

HISTORY: Impress your colleagues and clients by chatting about the good old days. Remember, the convention was started by French insurance bosses who wanted an excuse to get away from their wives and families and spending a leisurely week smoking cigars and making love to their mistresses in five star comfort.

The idea caught on and now more than 2,000 executives from all over the world – some of them women – use the meeting to recover from the stress of two weeks on family vacation. Mistresses are now optional.

REGISTRATION: It is said that a lot of people register simply to appear in the delegate book. Where’s the fun in that? Running the gauntlet of unattractive, free loading media parasites that infest the third floor of the Sporting D’Hiver is part of the RVS ritual.

Plus, you might bump into Global Rebore magazine’s Virginia Creeper and fix up an interview with her . Tip: you don’t need to show ID to register, so why not sign in as someone else and really spice up your Rendez-Vous?

ACCOMMODATION: It is likely that the travel people in your firm stayed within corporate budget guidelines and as a result you are lodging in a hostel in a grotty part of Nice.

If asked by a competitor or client whereabouts you are staying just wink and say: “A super little residence privée near Eze – I like to be away from crowds.” If they say they are in the Hotel de Paris, Hermitage or Metropole, simply say: “Oh bad luck, I heard it’s gone so downhill.”

ATTIRE: This is the easiest bit. By day wear a polo shirt and greige chinos; loafers (no socks) on feet; wraparound shades perched on head. Some eccentrics or Lloyd’s people wear a hat. Don’t be tempted. Don’t wear shorts; you’re not on a school trip.

Even if you are coming in from Bermuda: don’t wear shorts. It’s not funny anymore. A better, more stylish way to get noticed is to appear in the lobby of the Hotel de Paris wearing a dressing gown and flip flops, smoking a King Edward .

NETWORKING: A lot of people organise their days into 20+ brief meetings with clients and markets. Why bother? No-one ever says anything remotely worth remembering. Simply divide your time between milling around the Café de Paris, the lobby of the Hotel de Paris (if they let you in) and the Piano Bar of the Grand. Look like you are trying find someone.

If anyone recognises you and says hello, say: “Have you seen Ajit Jain anywhere? He’s been asking around for me apparently. I’ve been tied up with old von Bomhard for the last couple of hours.” Then check your phone and run away.

PROGRAMME: In recent years a number of companies and service providers have tried to make people actually do some work while they are in Monte Carlo by putting on seminars or roundtables. You can use these to your advantage. For example, after an all-night bender in the Living Room, why not call in on the breakfast talk given by one of the big accounting firms.

Don’t attempt to talk – pretend to be Latvian – just fill up on carbs before having a well earned snooze. If you prefer to nap in the afternoon, the official presentations in the Sporting D’Hiver are suitably soporific. Remember to pop in the patent anti-snoring device your wife makes you wear at night.

MEDIA: Raise your profile at the meeting by agreeing to be interviewed by a journalist from one of the show dailies in circulation. Prepare yourself by memorising a few meaningless buzzwords that can be used more or less randomly to answer their inane questions: they are desperate for copy and will write down anything you say.

This year’s buzzwords are: systematically important, inflection point; sidecar uncoupling; contingent decapitation; cat bond creep; gastric bandwidth; stasis risk; Oxlade Chamberlain curve; Paul Scholes Method; risk ballast; . Or just read what was said in that morning’s newsletters and parrot that back to the hacks in your own words.

GAMBLING: Monte Carlo is the place for high rollers but probably best if you confine yourself to the slots in the Grand. Should your boss catch you, explain that the two young Russian ladies assisting you are actuarial experts demonstrating a new way of formulating underwriting strategy in the “frequency” layers.

HOSPITALITY: In recent years, some of the big reinsurers have become very “hospitable”, organising lounges with free drinks and delicious canapes. This hospitality is open to abuse and so the lounges are frequented by media people, run-off specialists, rating analysts, IT consultants and confused tourists fresh off the Easy cruise ship.

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November 2018


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