Marine Insurers Enduring Rough Year

Experts will speak about a host of safety and salvage issues, including cargo theft and robbery in Latin America, human factors in maritime accidents and claims, and piracy.

Representatives of many of the biggest names in maritime insurance are meeting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego this week as they attend the International Union of Marine Insurance's annual conference. Experts will be presenting during IUMI 2012 through Wednesday about a host of safety and salvage issues, including cargo theft and robbery in Latin America, crew negligence, human factors in maritime accidents and claims, piracy, and the outlook for the U.S. and global economies.

TradeWinds, a multimedia news resource for the shipping industry, reports 2012 has been a rough year for underwriters, even putting aside the expected losses from the Costa Concordia disaster, and Marsh & McLennan reported in July 2012 that the loss of the Concordia "will result in the largest ever claim from a single ship, exceeding the Exxon Valdez -– about US$1 billion split between hull and liability underwriters."

In the same "Marine Market Monitor" report, the firm said machinery damage and engine room problems were the major causes of serious losses for hull and machinery underwriters. "Age matters to underwriters as IUMI's figures showed that 50% of all major incidents reported occurred to vessels in excess of 20 years of age," the report stated.

There is a serious oversupply problem for the worldwide shipping industry at present, and ships' value has plummeted to the point that cargoes frequently easily exceed the insured value of the ships themselves, the report noted.

The diamond sponsor of IUMI 2012 is Swiss Re. Gold sponsors include ABS, Cunningham Lindsey, Ironshore, Lloyd's Agency, Munich Re, Oceanwide, and World Assurance Inc. (QuickAssure).

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