The first Greek P&I club is finally open for business, its architect has said, promising a lean operation that will nevertheless deliver superior service to Greek shipowners.
The first Greek P&I club is finally open for business, its architect has said, promising a lean operation that will nevertheless deliver superior service to Greek shipowners ?on their doorstep?.
The Hellenic Mutual P&I and War Risks Association was recently granted a license by Greek regulators and said it would commence trading for war risks business as of November 1.
?We intend to avoid mistakes others have done and we are focused on building up a mutual equal to all its members as far as calculating premium, claims" handling and service are concerned,? said Nick Velliades, founder and managing director of Greece"s leading marine insurer, Aigaion Insurance Co.
He admitted coming up against ?serious difficulties? in a near-five year effort to get the Hellenic P&I Club off the ground but said that the club hoped to be competing for members at February"s P&I renewals.
For a long time Greek regulations barred the creation of such a club but two years ago the law changed to allow mutual marine insurance undertakings to operate with limited rather than personal liability.
The next problem to be faced is meeting regulatory requirements on solvency, Mr Velliades said.
?We intend to make allowances to the rating, for creating additional capital for the Solvency II,? he said.
The club has reportedly lined up a comprehensive reinsurance programme, placed by leading Lloyd's brokers in Lloyd's and the companies market and will be able to offer up to $1bn of cover.
Initially the focus will be on passenger ships, ferries and dry cargo ships up to 20,000 gt, owned and operated by Greek shipowners, Mr Velliades said.
War cover is being offered for all vessel types with 100% back-to-back reinsurance at Lloyd"s of London.
It is understood that cover of up to $100m can be provided per vessel for war risks on hull & machinery, loss of hire, crew liabilities, war P&I and oil pollution, with kidnap and ransom cover available at extra premium.
The mutual will be governed by board of 12 shipowners, who have so far not been named, and there will be a three-member supervisory board.
Mr Velliades said Aigaion had the know-how to launch a viable P&I club after successfully offering a fixed premium P&I facility and war cover for the last four years.
?The philosophy of the new mutual is [to provide] an excellent service, something which is now missing from the large institutions in London, especially for the smaller shipowners,? he said.
The club did not want to rely on investments to break even but to correctly rate business, and minimise operating expenses, which are projected to be as little as 20% of the management fees paid by the bigger London clubs.
On the war-risks side, the club will compete with the long-established Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association.
Mr Velliades said now was ?the right time? for the creation of the mutual.
He voiced the hope that the new Greek government would enforce requirements for all passenger vessels and other tonnage in Greek waters to carry proper liability insurance.
?This is missing today as a very large number of the smaller vessels are uninsured and there would be some other tonnage which are steaming in Greek waters without any liability insurance,? he said.