Marine insurers are cautiously optimistic that the savage downturn in the shipping industry is translating into an overall reduction in casualty experience.
Marine insurers are cautiously optimistic that the savage downturn in the shipping industry is translating into an overall reduction in casualty experience. That was the message in Miami when the International Union of Marine Insurance met there for the spring meetings of its executive and seven technical committees. IUMI represents marine underwriters worldwide. New statistics released the previous week confirm there was an increase in total losses in 2007 ? 106 against 92 in 2006 (all figures relate to ships of 500 tons gross and over). This came after the total loss graph showed an improvement over the previous three years, and brought the level back to that of 2003.
However, total tonnage lost, although remaining at a high level, dropped from 720,669 gt in 2006 to 600,412 gt in 2007.
Discussing the early estimates for 2008, Cedric Charpentier, chairman of IUMI"s facts and figures committee, said there was reason to be somewhat optimistic. The number of total losses for the calendar year was currently down from 82 to 74, a 10% decrease, at this very early stage.
?Thus, we might expect an ultimate figure of around 95 if we apply the normal deterioration factor because of late reporting, roughly comparable to the 2006 and 2005 years,? he said.
There was also encouraging news in terms of tonnage lost: 372,000 gt in 2008 (so far), a 22% decrease compared to the figure reported for 2007 at the same time last year. A normal trend of late reporting figures could bring the 2008 total to about 470,000 gt, which would be the second best year in the period 1980-2008.
Considering the huge increase in the world fleet last year, said Mr Charpentier, the improvement in total losses and tonnage lost, if maintained, is seen as even sharper.
Weather continues to be the major cause of total losses, representing about 42% for 2008 losses to date.