Marine Insurance: The only constant will be change

By Andrew Yeoman - October 07, 2022

The first face to face event since 2019 with over 600 delegates in attendance, the IUMI Conference in Chicago last month didn’t disappoint.


The overarching theme of the conference was ‘Adapting to a World in Transition’ and this really characterised the presentations and conversations during the week. Whether it’s the changing of market rates, the situation in Ukraine (and elsewhere), the widespread acceptance of data and analytics, or the emergence of ESG as a market priority, it’s clear that the only constant is going to be change.


It was fantastic to hear that the market has returned to profitability, and long may this continue although the sentiment in the conference was that 2022 rate increases have slowed. That said, there remains a great deal of optimism for the year ahead. There were a wide range of presentations including the Facts and Figures committee report, loss prevention and some pertinent discussions on the situation in Ukraine.


Many conversations centred on confiscation and war risk in Ukraine and there was also a growing concern on general supply chain fragility and the risks from port and vessel accumulations. As more data has become available, new insights are being delivered and demanded.


From a re-insurance perspective, the sentiment seemed to be that we’re heading into a challenging renewal period with re-insurers looking to tighten wording and seeking a better return on the capital deployed. Ultimately, capital costs and constraints flow to the direct market and it will be interesting to see how the next three months pan out as we head towards the 1/1 renewals.


Continuing the theme of adapting to change, IUMI said ‘thank you’ to Richard Turner and welcomed a new IUMI President, Frédéric Denèfle, Managing Director of French marine war risks specialist GAREX. He will be supported by Vice President, Kosuke Hashimoto of Japan and General Manager of Marine Underwriting at Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance.


Lastly, ESG formed a core part of the conference, and it is clearly on many corporate agendas. How this plays out in the market, how it’s decided what risks to write, what endorsements and exclusions might apply and how risk selection will work are some of the many issues that need to be worked through. However, it’s very rewarding to be part of a market that’s genuinely trying to make a difference.


The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the need for real-time data to understand, price and manage risk. As we head into a future where data assets are clearly as advantageous as financial assets, now is the time for organisations to act - ensuring they are well equipped to take full advantage of the benefits data analytics can deliver.


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