This time of the year is always a good opportunity to consider lessons learned and set new year’s resolutions for a new start. Our special column Industry Voices: ‘Goodbye 2020, hello 2021’ aims to provide an overview of this challenging year and set new targets for 2021 to move forward.
In this context, we have asked Mr. Lars Lange, IUMI Secretary General, to make an assessment of 2020 from his perspective and share his message for the new year across the global community. Among others, he highlights that the continuing environmental challenges and how the industry will return to some kind of normality after the pandemic passes are the key challenges for the new year.
Returning to normality following the pandemic will create some instability in the market, the way in which people work has changed and there will be a new ‘normal’.
SAFETY4SEA: Focusing on your area of expertise, what were the most important industry development(s) within 2020?
Lars Lange: Unsurprisingly the ongoing pandemic and its effect on crewing and crew changes is the biggest issue in 2020. The initial impact of COVID-19 was a sharp reduction in vessel miles, particularly for container and cruise vessels. Happily, this has now returned to near-normal levels but it is thought that more than $1 billion has been wiped from the trade book and this has a direct impact on cargo insurance. Less trade, more vessels in lay-up and fewer on order will reduce premium volume which ultimately impact marine insurers. The crew change crisis is a wider industry issue but one that is very important. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has called this a humanitarian crisis with more than 400,000 seafarers currently stuck at sea.
S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think will be the biggest challenge(s) for the industry in 2021?
L.L.: To me the biggest issues in shipping for 2021 will be the continuing environmental challenges and how the industry will return to some kind of normality after the pandemic passes. Environmental challenges have been top of mind for some time now – the decarbonisation of the shipping industry as a whole, climate change, arctic shipping, new environmental legislations, to name a few, are all causing some issues in the industry. These new ways of operating will all require insurance cover and it is important for underwriters to fully understand the increasingly complex risk profile of our changing industry. Returning to normality following the pandemic will also create some instability in the market, the way in which people work has changed and there will be a new ‘normal’ that the industry will need to adapt to.
S4S: What would be the 2021 resolutions for your company/organisation?
L.L.: At IUMI we would like to continue to be interactive partners with the industry, to provide guidance and be an educational partner to the marine insurance industry. We would like to operate as sustainably as possible. We aim to continue to identify the future challenges our industry will face, helping marine insurers to adapt and be flexible. To continue to be the influential and trusted voice of global marine insurance. To continue to focus on the growing importance of digitalisation and new technologies, and to raise awareness and share information about the key trends and opportunities digitalisation offers.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.