Global marine premiums up by 2% but challenges remain for marine underwriting, says IUMI

Press Release:

Global marine insurance premiums reached US$28.5 billion in 2017, up 2% from 2016, according to an annual statistical report from the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI).

Today, IUMI – the International Union of Marine Insurance – presented its annual statistical report on the marine insurance market at this week’s annual conference in Cape Town. Whilst global marine premiums were up by 2%, IUMI highlighted an increasing mismatch between income levels and covered risk.

Vice-Chair of IUMI’s Facts & Figures Committee, Astrid Seltmann explained:

“Overall premium income reached USD 28.5 billion in 2017 which represents a 2% increase compared with 2016. This upswing is largely attributable to growth in trade plus strengthening of European and other currencies against the US dollar. But it masks the dramatic situation which is unfolding when current premium levels are viewed in relation to covered risks and the impact of claims.

The cargo market was recently affected by unprecedented nat-cat and outlier event losses and this has negatively impacted underwriting results. It also signals the increasing, and often unknown, accumulation of values both on shore and at sea.

In the hull market, falling vessel values have, among other market conditions, contributed to an erosion of income to a degree where income is now not sufficient to allow for normal repair costs in a given year. This downward trend is particularly worrying given the relative absence of major hull losses in recent years. The last ten years’ statistics clearly show an increasing volatility in the impact of claims on underwriting results caused by the random occurrence of claims with unprecedented cost. As vessel sizes continue to increase, this trend will not reverse, and the heightened risk must be taken into account. The shipping and insurance industries will have to embrace this level of volatility and uncertainty which may impact future profitability.

The offshore energy market has also seen a substantial erosion of premium income caused by the low oil price and the consequent low activity in the offshore sector. Insurance capacity has remained abundant, however. More positively, the 2017 hurricane season had little effect, and major claims impact remained low. It remains to be seen when and to what degree the rising oil price will support an upswing in this sector.

In general, the IUMI statistics clearly illustrate the need for sustainable underwriting by understanding the simple – and sometimes not so simple – mathematics of evaluating the risks and expected costs associated with a prudent marine portfolio.”

The distribution of the USD 28.5 billion global income between geographic regions remained stable, with only a 1% increase in the share of Asia and Latin America as compared with Europe. In 2017, Europe represented 49% of the global income, Asia/Pacific 29%, Latin America 10%, North America 6%, Middle East 4% and Africa 2.4%.

For global marine premium by line of business, cargo continued to represent the largest share with 57% in 2017, hull 24%, offshore energy 12% and marine liability (other than P&I) 7%.

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ClaimsPro Expands Marine Services Leadership Team

Source: SCM Insurance Services

ClaimsPro, Canada’s leading provider of independent claims adjusting services and an SCM company, today announced the appointment of two new division leaders for its marine services unit: John Hosty as National Director, Marine Services and Patricia Foster as Director, Marine Accounts.

John is a qualified Master Mariner and has sailed in all ranks up to Captain on a wide variety of merchant vessels including general cargo, LPG, LNG, chemical tankers and VLCC’s. He joins ClaimsPro after serving as CEO at a North American marine surveying and consulting company. Prior to that he was Director Marine Programs for an international independent adjusting firm. John is a senior marine surveyor, with a broad experience including general claims, pleasure craft, project cargo and risk control. He has significant technical expertise in the hazardous materials and environmental response sectors.

In his new role, John will oversee ClaimsPro’s national team of marine surveyors and adjusters, ensuring continued progressive growth of this business unit, while supporting the company’s commitment to be the most recommended adjusting company in the marine industry.

Patricia is a Registered Nurse (RN), holds an MBA from Liverpool University and is a designated Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA). She joins ClaimsPro after serving as the CFO and General Manager of a Canadian marine surveying and consulting company. Prior to this, she was Director of Financial Planning and Decision Support for a large Toronto community hospital. Patricia brings a wealth of senior corporate financial leadership and operations management within the areas of risk control, project cargo, procure to pay supply chain, logistics, hazardous materials management, and healthcare, and she has extensive experience in managing marine claims including large volumes of pleasure craft accounts.

In her new role as Director, Marine Accounts, Patricia will oversee ClaimsPro’s marine service business unit with a focus on operational excellence and process improvements to deliver consistent standards of service to our clients.

“We are thrilled to welcome both John and Patricia to the national marine services unit,” said Drew Knox, Vice President TEC & Marine Services. They both bring an incredible range of professional skills and leadership experience, with accreditations from multiple industries, that will allow for increased business development and mentorship for our adjusters serving clients in the marine industry.”

ClaimsPro’s Marine Services team of highly experienced, senior surveyors focus exclusively on providing specialized claims services to the marine industry across Canada. They bring an in-depth understanding of how to handle these specialty claims, with fast on-scene response, equipped to provide relevant insight to process the claim quickly. Marine Services is part of ClaimsPro’s Specialty Risk Division (SRD), led by Sean Forgie, Senior Vice President, SRD.

“John and Pat bring a considerable amount of Marine expertise to the table, and we are excited to have them join our national team under Drew’s leadership, said Sean Forgie, Senior Vice President SRD. “We look forward to continuing to grow our Marine Services unit, to meet our customer’s needs in Canada and internationally.”

TSB recommends improved passenger vessel safety measures following investigation into the fatal 2015 Leviathan II capsizing off Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Source: Transportation Safety Board of Canada

On June 14, 2017 the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is issuing three recommendations to improve passenger vessel safety resulting from its investigation (M15P0347) into the fatal October 2015 capsizing of the passenger vessel Leviathan II in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia.

“It’s time for Transport Canada to work with whale-watching companies and other passenger vessel operators to ensure the experience they offer is not just thrilling, but as safe as it can be,” said Kathy Fox, Chair of the TSB. “When people find themselves in cold water, every second counts. Our recommendations today are aimed at putting in place measures to avoid accidents in the first place, and to expedite rescue efforts if an accident occurs.”

On 25 October 2015, the Leviathan II was on a whale-watching excursion in the Plover Reefs area near Tofino, British Columbia, with 27 people on board. As the vessel was about to leave the area, a large breaking wave approached and impacted the vessel on the starboard quarter. The vessel broached and rapidly capsized, throwing all 24 passengers and 3 crew into the cold seawater without flotation aids. The subsequent rescue operation recovered 21 survivors. Six passengers died.

The investigation determined that the sea conditions in the area were favourable to the formation of breaking waves. However, none had been seen when the vessel first approached the area to observe sea lions. Moments after the master became aware of the large wave approaching the starboard quarter, he tried to turn the vessel to minimize the impact, but the wave struck the vessel before these actions could be effective. The crew did not have time to transmit a distress call before the capsizing, nor did the vessel have a means to automatically send a distress call. It was only by chance that the crew retrieved and activated a parachute flare, alerting nearby Ahousaht First Nation fishermen who arrived on the scene first, alerted search-and-rescue (SAR) authorities, and began recovering survivors from the water.

The Board’s first recommendation is that Transport Canada (TC) require commercial passenger vessel operators on the west coast of Vancouver Island to identify those areas and conditions conducive to the formation of hazardous waves, and adopt practical strategies to reduce the likelihood of an encounter (M17-01). The Board is also recommending that TC require passenger

vessel operators across Canada to adopt explicit risk-management processes that identify hazards and then implement proactive strategies to reduce these risks. These risk management processes should also be accompanied by comprehensive guidelines so that vessel operators and TC inspectors can implement and oversee them effectively (M17-02).

The TSB’s third recommendation is aimed at reducing response time in the event of an accident. It took 45 minutes after the capsizing before SAR authorities became aware of the capsizing. The TSB wants TC to require all commercial passenger vessels operating beyond sheltered waters to carry emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) or other similar equipment. These are designed to float free in the event of a capsizing or sinking and automatically transmit a continuous distress signal to SAR authorities (M17-03).

Canada: Boater frustrated by marina insurance change

Canada: Boater frustrated by marina insurance change

By Don Fraser, St. Catharines Standard

Greg Swallow says all he wants is his boat back — without an insurance policy revision hassle.

The trouble began earlier this year, when owners of about 100 boats learned they’ll need new winter storage after the ShipShape boat yard lease was terminated by St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

Swallow says his 50-foot powerboat was put up for winter storage and repair by ShipShape, located in Port Weller.

He’s now told boaters using the marina need to add the Seaway and Transport Canada’s name to their insurance policies to protect them from liability.

Swallow, a Burlington resident, said he and other boaters are being denied access until that change is made.

“Out of no fault of our own, our boats are being held hostage by the St. Lawrence Seaway and Transport Canada, and we have no voice,” he said, supplying e-mails citing similar concerns form other boaters, who have not gone on the record. “We are … humble boaters being treated with disdain.”

The property is now being managed by Niagara Falls’ Marlow Bailiff and Property Management Services.

Last month, Marlow deferred comment to Bruce Hodgson, director of Seaway market development, who said lease cancellation details are a “commercial item that I prefer not to get into.”

Jonathan Marler, general manager of ShipShape, told The Standard the issue was over tax payments, which he considered the Seaway authority to be responsible for.

A March 30 e-mail was sent out by Marlow to all boaters of ShipShape that aims for a launch date at the site of April 15.

The e-mail advises boaters some of the insurance policies submitted do not meet the requirements set out by the Seaway in the storage agreement at 10 Seaway Haulage Rd.

In another recent e-mail to boaters, supplied by Swallow, Marlow says one condition for entry to the property is that insurance certificate. “I have been instructed to deny entry to anyone that has not meet all conditions of the storage agreement,” said the e-mail.

Swallow adds the Seaway will start charging him storage fees at about $2,000 a month if his boat is not out by June 15.

Seaway spokesman Andrew Bogora confirmed the Seaway is requesting that it and Transport Canada be added to a boat owner’s insurance policy as an “additional insured.”

Bogora said this request is not unusual and a “common operating practice.”

“Insurance companies typically do not charge any fee to issue a certificate of insurance, with the additional insured(s) noted within the text of the policy,” he said in an e-mail.

He said the Seaway’s objective is to “assist owners in getting their boats launched into the water.”

To that end, the Seaway has made arrangements with the bailiff to grant boat owners access to the property, and allow them to prepare their boats for launch.

He said boat owners will not be changed any fee for storage, as long as the boats are launched by June 15. Bogora said most owners have indicated they’ll be out by then.

Should any owner choose not to launch their boat by June 15, the Seaway will charge a “market standard fee for boat storage” for any time that extends beyond June 15.

As for potential security lapses raised by Swallow, Bogora said the marina site is secured in a manner similar to others.

He said there’s a fence around the perimeter of the property, and a locked gate controls access to the land and boats.

The site, he said, is monitored by both security patrols and cameras.

Coast Guard studies shipping lanes

By Dan Joling

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ANCHORAGE, Alaska _ More Arctic sea ice melting each summer from global warming is making it easier for ships to plot routes through the environmentally sensitive Bering Strait, and is prompting concerns among U.S. Coast Guard officials about the potential dangers of a vessel crashing and leaking oil.

The Coast Guard is taking steps to plot a shipping route that will help the ships safely navigate the 53-mile wide waterway separating Russia and Alaska. Among the vessels slated to pass through the strait is a cruise ship carrying more than 1,000 passengers on a 32-day voyage next year through the Northwest Passage.

The federal agency has laid out a 4-mile wide route through the Bering Sea into the Arctic Ocean and is reviewing public comment on whether it should become the first commercial shipping lane along Alaska’s west coast.

“We want to really try to keep these large commercial vessels that we’re starting to see on an ever-increasing basis far enough from land, and we believe that we can do that with a route,” said Lt. Kody Stitz, a project officer in the agency’s waterways management branch.

Through 2015, Arctic summer sea ice has declined 13.4 per cent per decade relative to the 1981 to 2010 average, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado.

Cargo companies have not created polar shipping service between continents, but on the U.S. side of the Bering Sea, the Coast Guard is monitoring research missions, tour boats and shippers delivering goods to Alaska’s Arctic Ocean whaling communities.

In 2014, the Coast Guard counted 340 transits through the Bering Strait made by about 120 large vessels. That volume is not enough to generate a shipping lane study, Stitz said. However, the region is both ecologically sensitive and remote, he said.

“We don’t have good response capabilities. We don’t have a good salvage response up there. We have inadequate pollution-fighting equipment up there,” Stitz said. “If something were to go wrong, it really could compound itself.”

The agency doesn’t want a repeat of the Selendang Ayu, a 738-foot freighter that lost power, ran aground and broke in two on Dec. 8, 2004, on the north side of Unalaska Island in the Aleutians. It spilled 66,000 tons of soybeans and an estimated 350,000 gallons of oil.

Six of the 10 crew members died when a rogue wave crashed into a Coast Guard helicopter lifting them from the vessel. The helicopter crew was rescued. “We don’t want to see that happen in the Bering Sea, or further north,” Stitz said.

One of the vessels planning to transit the Bering Strait next year is the 820-foot luxury cruise ship, the Crystal Serenity, which will travel from Seward, Alaska, to New York by way of the Northwest Passage, a route that winds through waters in far northern Canada.

The Crystal Serenity acknowledged the remoteness of its destination: passengers must carry a minimum of $50,000 in emergency medical evacuation insurance coverage. The cruise ship expects to move in ice-free water but will carry two marine pilots who can navigate through ice.

Crystal Cruises spokesman Paul Garcia said an escort vessel with ice-breaking capability and a helicopter that can scout for ice will accompany the ship on the trip that sold out within a month after online reservations went on sale last year.

“Safety is paramount with Crystal,” Garcia said. “We’re going to all extremes to make sure that our guests know we take it very seriously.”

The proposed shipping lane starts at Unimak Pass in the Aleutian Islands, which sees upward of 5,000 transits annually, mostly cargo vessels operating between Asia and the U.S. West Coast.

The proposed Bering Sea route covers 730 miles, taking a path farther west of Nunivak Island and farther east of St. Lawrence Island than most ships use now. The route can guarantee that boats will be in at least 60 feet of water, Stitz said.

Environmental groups strongly encourage creation of the shipping lanes but want large vessels to safely pass environmentally sensitive natural features. For example, the Diomede Islands provide nesting colonies for nearly 7 million crested, least and parakeet auklets and other species, the largest bird concentration in Alaska, according to the groups.

The groups want a speed limit through the Bering Strait, a passageway for hundreds of thousands of animals that migrate from the North Pacific to the Arctic Ocean, including bowhead and grey whales.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants the proposed lane shifted west in the southern Bering Sea to protect endangered right whales. Others call for more study to determine if the lane overlaps with migratory routes of bowhead whales.

The Coast Guard hopes to complete its route study by next summer.

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