LOMA And ACORD Will Merge Their Tech Conferences Next Year
By Ara C. Trembly
At a time when industry technology trade shows have seen a decline in attendance, LOMA and ACORD have announced they are merging their annual technology conferences next year “to form one of the industrys largest conferences.”
According to Atlanta-based LOMA, the ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum will take place at the Paris Las Vegas hotel May 23-26, 2004. “We are co-owners of this new entity,” says Rick Gilman, vice president of Pearl River, N.Y.-based ACORD. “We didnt purchase their conference and they didnt purchase ours.”
The LOMA Systems Forum, which began in 1965, and the ACORD conference, which launched in 1993, draw more than 200 exhibitors and 2,500 attendees from around the globe, said LOMA.
In 2002, however, official attendance at the LOMA Systems Forum in Hollywood, Fla., was reported to be 650–a 24% drop from the 2001 figure of 850. As reported by National Underwriter last April, several disappointed exhibitors pegged the crowd at about half of the 2001 level, based on the light traffic they saw on the exhibit floor.
According to Ann Purr, second vice president, information management, at LOMA, however, the merger of the conferences “is not a result of attendance problems. That was not the motivation, because we have been talking about [combining the conferences] for at least 18 months. There have been other attempts to do this in the past, but they didnt come to fruition.
“This came out of a desire to create something that–if you can only go to one meeting a year–you will know this is the one you need to go to,” she adds.
According to Gilman, attendance at ACORDs technology conference dropped off by only 50 people in 2002. He adds that both LOMA and ACORD believe the combined conference will have some overlap of attendees, “but we believe it will grow.”
“We felt that [LOMA and ACORD] each brought to the table something important and each has something different to offer,” Purr explains. “We have a lot of the same exhibitors and they are thrilled. It gives them the opportunity to do one show in a bigger way.”
Purr asserts that creating a larger conference would yield “better speakers with more attendees and more traffic for exhibitors.”