Virtual conferences – is this the way of the future for the UK insurance industry?

  Angelique   |   5th November 2020 - 4 min read

Technology | Events

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has now confirmed that its conference is set to be a virtual event for 2021. While the lockdown is expected to end in December, it looks like the organisers of BIBA are hedging their bets against organising a physical get together in May next year.The annual conference has been a highlight of Manchester Central’s calendar for a number of years now. But this year the decision was made to cancel the event due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. But fortunately, Insurance Age’s Broker Exchange (30 November – 4 December) is still going ahead – albeit virtually.So how do you feel about virtual conferences in general? BIBA promise to invest in bringing the industry ‘an amazing digital conference and exhibition experience’. On the 12 and 13 May the conference will be hosted on a customised platform providing AI-powered profile matching which will help to connect delegates. We’ve written before about the benefits of AI, especially when it comes to making clients’ lives easier when it comes to claim time.Attendees to the BIBA conference will be able to schedule appointments, enter into live chats and video conference within the platform. In addition, the organisers are promising high quality debates and keynote addresses.It may not feel natural to do a conference this way as there has always been a large social element to BIBA, but the AI profile matching does offer some advantages. With the crowds that attend such conferences there’s always a chance that you’ll miss out on meeting the people that you really want to talk to. But, with the added advantages of profile matchmaking to connect delegates with exhibitors easily (just like virtual speed dating) you can save a lot of precious time in the process.Unfortunately, there won’t be the usual hospitality accompanied with the natural flow of casual face-to-face meet ups. But there are still ways to make the most of virtual conferences now that they appear to be here to stay (at least for now).Here we offer a few tips to take on board to make the most of your virtual experience:
  1. Familiarise yourself with the video conferencing platform. Lots of virtual conferences enable you to tour virtually around before the conference starts so you can network and get familiar with the process. It will also offer you the opportunity to test out your equipment and ensure that it works.
  2. Minimise any distractions. If you’re still working from home in May (fingers crossed the rules will be a little more relaxed by then) ensure that your surrounding environment is fit for purpose. By that we mean: make sure that the setting looks professional and try and keep potential distractions like children or animals out of the way (if possible). Although it has to be said that these days many have become more tolerant of family disrupting the flow of a virtual meet. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable!
  3. Ensure your virtual meetings are effective. Make sure presentations (if you intend to have them) are kept to a minimum. So often virtual meetings turn into a bore as attendees conduct ‘death by PowerPoint’ presentations that go on too long. Remember the social aspect of BIBA and try and bring a little of that feeling to the virtual meeting.
If you plan on attending or exhibiting BIBA 2021 you can now register your interest.Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay 

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