Mention September and Monte Carlo in the same sentence, you are probably talking about the Reinsurance Rendezvous. On that Saturday morning, if you work in the industry, you will probably know a good 50% of the people waiting in the BA lounge at Gatwick. There are few empty seats and the chatter-levels are high. A fair proportion with tickets to Nice will have arrived on the overnight flight from Bermuda – reinsurance is big in Bermuda, really big. Something to do with tax efficiency, which is not the same as tax avoidance.
MC must benefit to the tune of millions of euros by this annual get-together. Even at an agreed reduced-event-rate, the hotels are charging upwards of €600 per night and there don’t appear to be any cheap hotels or B&Bs in Monaco. I am not complaining – it is really very pleasant: bathrooms the size of living rooms, Flatscreen TV bigger than your own at home, sheets and towels renewed daily – white of course, and that totally excessive “turn-down service” ( not “tuck-in service” which is something else entirely, not for company expenses) Maybe not at all surprising that this is a popular event for CPE.
So what do you actually do here? I asked my husband. Meetings. The in-phrase seems to be “back-to-back meetings” implying an impossible degree of busyness. Then after these presumably exhausting espresso-fuelled conversations the best-of-the-best will move on to working-the crowd at back-to-back cocktail parties, finding a brief window for a five course dinner and a networking bottle of wine.
I am wrong though. It is actually a form of multitasking, an efficient way of cramming in multiple discussions and decisions into 24 hours. Contrast a normal day in the office with perhaps a few filtered phone calls, maybe a conference call with PowerPoint croissants and dozens of unfiltered emails. A Monte Carlo day can be an exhilarating achievement.
For me, a plus-one of the traditional type, it is a few days of unadulterated people-watching. A bench in the park behind sunglasses with bottle of water and ipad. What could be more pleasant?
Then we arrive at the last night, the board dinner. Though partners are not generally included there are enough of us in MC to inspire a generous invitation and the evening does not disappoint. A restaurant that includes on-the-vine tomatoes in its floral displays; a greenhouse ambience belies indescribable foods and for dessert they hand out tambourines with hats; we eat, sing and drink until the taxi carries us away.
Until next year.