Inside IUMI 2014 - Conference Roundup
Over 500 of the world’s leading Marine underwriters gathered in Hong Kong in September for the International Union of Marine Insurers Annual Conference – or IUMI 2014 for short. It’s the first time the event has been held in Hong Kong in the organisation’s 140-year history and it was hosted by The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI), led by Organizing Committee Chair Agnes Choi.
Delegates from around the world enjoyed a packed and informative IUMI programme, introduced by outgoing IUMI President Ole Wikborg, director and senior underwriter of the Norwegian Hull Club, under the theme of “Building Expertise for a Changing World”.
One of the most interesting presentations for Marine underwriters came from The Facts & Figures Committee, which gave an interesting - if gloomy - market outlook, reporting that global marine insurance premium in 2013 was US$34.2 billion (down 1.7% on 2012).
For Cargo, 2013 premium was US$18.2 billion (down 0.5% on 2012). The expected ultimate gross loss ratio for 2013 will be 70%+, similar to 2010-2013, excluding Superstorm Sandy.
For Hull, 2013 premium was US$8.5 billion (down 0.8% on 2012). It seems that while the world fleet continues to grow and insured risk increases, premium income stays flat. Claims cost and frequency have improved but hull is running at a technical loss - as it has been for 18 consecutive years.
In her keynote talk, Laura Cha, Chairman of the Financial Services Development Council, Hong Kong, spoke about how there is much, at least in Asia, to be cheerful about. She noted shifting trade patterns, meaning four of the five busiest inter-regional trade routes now involve Asia, and the emergence of Renminbi (RMB) as a key trading currency - for which Hong Kong has been the testing ground.
Break-out sessions are a feature of the convention. The recent loss of the MOL Comfort, which broke in two and sank off the coast of Yemen last year, ensured that the workshop on “Recent Structural Incidents with Post-Panamax Container Ships and the Response of the Maritime Industry” was particularly well attended.
Hull-themed workshops included presentations on market behavior related to technical pricing and understanding risks. Inland Hull (including fishing vessel and yachts) and liability workshops were held concurrently. Other workshops covered Cargo and offshore energy, with an interesting and topical political forum in one of the slots.
The full conference programme is available on the IUMI website, where links to each of this year’s presentations can also be found.
The next IUMI will take place in Berlin from 13-16 September 2015.