For Skuld, loss prevention activities are a component of corporate social responsibility as we continuously work towards sustainable solutions in reducing casualties together with our members and clients. Our approach is to translate the experience we gain through individual cases into advice and warnings for our members, as well as for the wider international maritime sector.
The most important goals of our loss prevention activities are the preservation of life and health, crew welfare, and environmental protection. However, the financial side is also important. Advising members on matters like cargo handling, port risks, and contractual risks is a key part of our service.
We see loss prevention as a joint effort between the club and our assureds. Through close interaction, we learn from each other. We arrange more than 100 seminars and workshops each year to make what we have learned easily accessible. In addition, every day we receive and handle a large number of enquiries from our assureds on various loss prevention matters.
The advice we supply is shared through co-operation with the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG), and through CEFOR, the Nordic Association of Marine Insurers. Industry bodies such as the Cargo Incident Notification System are actively working to prevent losses for container carriers, and should also be informed of relevant experiential findings.
To get ahead of the curve, it is important to catch loss trends before they hit our assureds or their P&I club. We all benefit when the industry is open to sharing loss experiences, a stance which we promote.
We have adopted a systematic approach to publishing advice based on our experience in prioritised areas and with emerging topics. In addition, we regularly publish relevant loss prevention news on our web site, and on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Wherever possible, we aim for root-cause analysis. When we can get to the bottom of a problem, we are able to initiate dialogue with, for example, the manufacturers of failed vessel equipment, or the shippers and producers of problematic cargoes. We are also able to discuss these issues with the relevant institutions. Industry bodies such as IG and CEFOR are very important in the co-ordination of such efforts.
Skuld adopts an analytical and systematic approach to loss prevention. We are prepared and able to expend resources on specific customers in order to reduce the risks they face, and therefore bring to the club. Our Member Specific Loss Prevention Programme (MSLPP) is an important tool to accomplish this goal. Through MSLPP, we set trigger points based on loss record and claims frequency. When these thresholds are exceeded, we activate targeted loss prevention programmes for the relevant member. Many measures may be taken, but could include:
- Surveys of selected vessels
- Operational assessments
- Involvement of ship management experts
- Enrolment in the Extended Pre-Employment Medical Examination programme
- Contract reviews
- Seminars and workshops
- Individual training for selected employees
- Crew training
The programme helps members improve their performance. It is offered as a service, rather than imposed simply for the Club’s benefit.
Surveying is another important component of loss prevention. Skuld’s technical management team carries out condition surveys on more than 300 vessels every year. These usually take place at the time of entry, or following an incident in which the technical condition of the vessel is called into question. They serve to ensure that the quality of entered tonnage meets Skuld’s standards and risk appetite.
A recent analysis of all the vessel inspections completed during the past decade shows that Skuld’s survey campaigns have a positive impact on claims frequency and severity. As a result, the club will expand the programme to include more vessels. Surveys will focus on the physical condition of the vessels, as well as on ship familiarisation, crew competence, and communication skills.
To ensure that consistency and quality of reporting are maintained, all condition surveys are carried out either by one of Skuld’s independent and approved surveyors, or by one of the club’s own technical managers. All surveyors use Skuld’s proprietary electronic survey form, which enhances our capability to analyse trends, and to decide on focus areas for future loss prevention activities. Sometimes a single survey has broader application: we often see assureds implementing the loss prevention recommendations offered following a survey with other vessels in their fleet, which improves the overall quality of tonnage afloat.
Through innovation and product enhancement, we strive to achieve continual improvement in all aspects of our service. Understanding members’ needs and their vessels is foundational to reaching that goal. The knowledge we obtain determines the way we tailor our loss prevention initiatives, by ensuring they are relevant and effective for each individual member. As they are implemented, we help our members to create a safer, cleaner world for all to enjoy.
By Bjørn Flåm, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Loss Prevention, Skuld
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
Bjørn Flåm is Senior Vice President and Global Head of Loss Prevention, Skuld. Skuld is a world leading marine insurance provider with a strong financial position and an 'A' rating with Standard & Poor's. Skuld was established in Oslo in 1897 as a P&I club for Scandinavian shipowners. Since then, we have grown into a diversified marine insurer and now offer bespoke covers through Skuld P&I, Skuld SMA and Skuld 1897, a syndicate at Lloyd's. With headquarters in Oslo and a worldwide office network of around 270 highly skilled employees, Skuld provides members and clients with service and competence they can rely on, 24 hours a day.