The Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous - three Groundhog days at the end of the summer on the Cote d'Azur, where reinsurers, their brokers and clients go to refresh relationships, re-enacting a ritual that varies little from year to year.
Except that it is always slightly different.
This part of the world may be innately conservative and timeless, but it cannot help but evolve, even if it occurs at a markedly slower pace than elsewhere.
For example, part of the old ritual used to be that a major carrier was downgraded by one of the ratings agencies just as the conference was kicking off.
Scor and Alea suffered this fate and no one ever forgets Converium's spectacular loss of its Standard & Poor's (S&P) A rating in 2004 just as the Monte Carlo show was getting on the road.
Whilst the agencies themselves always pleaded innocence, citing the availability of fresh Q2 numbers, many of the more cynically minded always suspected that the timing of such announcements was designed to extract the maximum publicity and create the strongest impact.
Whatever the motives, it always made for an entertaining piece of theatre if nothing much else was happening.
But that was then and this is now…For all the latest news and analysis from the Rendez-Vous, click here to download The Insurance Insider's Monte Carlo Takeaway 2012.