The 2004 AIRMIC conference was the best attended and, by common consent, one of the liveliest for years There were 701 participants, the second year in a row that numbers have risen.

Nearly all the 40 breakout sessions and workshops were well attended and covered a wide range of subjects - stress, liability, corporate governance, asbestos, rehabilitation, electronic trading and many others.

The AGM, the sole members-only event, agreed to a new regional structure for AIRMIC, dividing the country into three large areas. The aim of the reform is to make it easier for members to play an active role in the association.

As delegates left the AGM, they were treated to free bars of Harrogate soap and bags of Harrogate toffee - to remind them that the AIRMIC biennial convention will take place there from November 4-6. The organisers are serving up a mixed fare, with educational sessions, topical debates and the usual opportunity to play golf and take part in a number of social events.

At the end of the conference came the traditional handing over of the chain of office, with the outgoing chairman Nick Chown making way for Andrew Cornish, head of insurable risk at Centrica. Peter Berring of De La Rue becomes deputy, alongside Geoff Lingham of Electrolux, who was first elected to this position in 2003.

The next AIRMIC conference will be by the sea: Brighton, June 13-15 2005.