The ABI Events team is a small team out to make a difference. 

Team spirit, collaboration, passion, and enjoyment of working with each other have enabled the team to achieve strong results over the course of the past year, with a successful and rapid transition to virtual events delivering a high-quality delegate experience.

Category: Best Team of the Year Event

Sponsor: SEC 

Winner: ABI Events Team

The Team
The award-winning ABI Events team, part of the wider Member Relations, Partnerships and Events team is responsible for high-quality events from large-scale dinners and conferences to webinars and virtual networking events recently set up to respond to Covid-19 circumstances. 

The team worked on the highly successful transition to virtual events due to the pandemic, as previously they only ran in-person events. The process for running an ABI event had completely changed and the team quickly became technical support experts and relied on each other’s skills to learn from.

2020 began with 46 in-person events planned, reduced to 26 in March, and ended by running 48 in-person and virtual events, delivering the same high-quality content and calibre of speakers.

Not only did the team transform their calendar of events with five weeks’ notice, they did it with half of the usual team resources whilst two members of the team were on maternity leave in 2020.

The team has progressed and developed their careers whilst at the ABI. Four members have been promoted: two who started as apprentice and undergraduate placement year students, one who was promoted to senior events adviser, and the fourth who had been promoted from the ABI’s team support.

The Teamwork
With help from membership colleagues, the team communicated the new virtual offering to event sponsors in the face of their tightened budgets, retaining and acquiring sponsorships, achieving 121% against the target for 2020 sponsorships. 

The team successfully transformed their Tax Convention (September 2020) usually held as an annual dinner and full-day conference in Brighton. They needed to provide the same high-quality, breadth of content in an engaging way despite having not delivered a virtual event of this size previously.

To transform the packed conference agenda, the team planned a week of webinars where delegates could pick plenary and technical sessions to attend. With limited resources, they prioritised training two new team members at the time to become platform experts. 

The convention was a success, welcoming 234 delegates against a target of 200, with very positive feedback and the event was a finalist for the Association of Association Executives’ Best Online Conference 2020.

The ABI Annual Conference held in February 2021 was different to any event that the team had delivered. Having spent six months planning for a physical event, the 4-person team decided in September 2020 to pivot to virtual delivery due to the Covid-19 safety concerns. They collectively arranged demos with seven platforms and set key criteria to meet the event’s objectives: bringing networks together; providing a rich delegate experience; prioritising opportunities for exhibitors. 

Through hard work and collaboration, the virtual conference was a success with overwhelmingly positive delegate and exhibitor feedback which met the event’s core objectives. 

The team achieved a 91% conversion rate from registrants to attendees against a target of 75%. This is not only the highest attendance rate they have had for any of virtual events, it also rivals an 89% attendance rate at their in-person 2020 conference, numbers that could only be achieved by effective collaboration from across the team.

Despite the resourcing and external challenges, they worked outstandingly as a team, not only meeting the flagship event’s criteria, but delivering one of the most successful ABI conference’s to date.

The Collaboration
When working from home during the pandemic, the team focused on having clear communication to maintain teamwork across the organisation. All-staff ‘Town Hall’ meetings were introduced to highlight cross-cutting priorities which required collaboration from all colleagues to plan and get involved.

Under lockdown, colleagues also took part in the 2.6 challenge which was a shared effort to reach a target of running 26 miles, raising £1,330 for Haven House Children’s Hospice. Not only did this encourage colleagues to get out and improve wellbeing, it created a sense of togetherness despite being apart.

Judges Comments
The Association of British Insurers are worthy winners of the Best In house Team. It was clear to the judges that this small team was out to make a difference and the team spirit, collaboration, passion and enjoyment of working with each other and in the sector was very clear. 

The team demonstrated that it has created a highly supportive culture which adapts to ensure that the team members can progress their careers and personal goals in parallel.  The judges were impressed at the way individual team members have been promoted and encouraged to develop their skills whilst at the same time working closely to meet the overall objectives.

Taking an energetic approach, this small team has achieved strong results over the course of the past year, with a successful and rapid transition to virtual events delivering a high-quality delegate experience and satisfying the sponsor’s needs, transforming their calendar of events in just 5 weeks.  What’s more, this small team increased the number of events delivered. 

Through smart use of technologies, the team was able to engage successfully with their audiences, drive demand, attract bigger audiences, and exceed targets across a number of metrics.

Congratulations to ABI – worthy winners of Best In House Team at the ICE Awards.