Ahead of the IUMI Annual Conference in Chicago, Richard Turner, IUMI President reflects on the lessons learned from the last four years and the new trends highlighting that albeit the volatile background, the marine insurance and reinsurance sector has continued to operate pretty well.
n summary, Mr Turner notes that marine insurance adapted positively to the operational and risk challenges of the pandemic; the sector accelerated the pace at which data and technology were embraced, partly due to the pandemic forced and; marine insurance adapted quickly to ESG (environmental, social, governance) debate.
Covid-19 caused an immediate and long-lasting disruption to our sector’s working environment, and we witnessed a sequence of challenges affecting the clients and industries we support. These ranged from the initial slowdown of shipping activity, to the subsequent surge of international trade in the post-pandemic phase and the consequent problems of port blockages.
IUMI has continued to work on key priorities – and introduced a new one
Mr. Turner noted that a key feature of IUMI’s success in the past 10-years has been that they have developed a clear strategic direction and ensured its continuity.
Progress has been made in the following all areas:
- Membership : During the pandemic, we introduced a new online format – member roadshows. So far, we have held events with India, Australia, Turkey, the Philippines, Spain, Croatia, South Africa and Malaysia.
- Education: Our educational offering has expanded and matured. In addition to the cargo and hull tutorials, we have increased the frequency of webinars and introduced monthly podcasts as a new innovation.
- Advocacy: At present, the IMO is engaged in considering a proposal by IUMI (and other IMO members) which concerns the “development of amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 and the FSS Code concerning detection and control of fires in cargo holds and on the cargo deck of containerships“. IUMI has also shared a discussion paper at IMO on the growing problem of containers being lost overboard at sea. We are also engaged in IMO projects to consider the development of autonomous ships and to improve the position regarding ports of refuge.
- Statistics and data: The IUMI Stats Report – first launched in 2018 and published annually since then – is a key part of IUMI’s drive to diversify the distribution of information. On top of this, the launch of the IUMI Claims Database is a major step forward, with $14 billion in claims now collated from 25 countries.
Then there is the growing impact of digitalisation in our sector. During my term as President, we have recognised this growing trend by enhancing the status of what was originally created under Dieter Berg’s presidency as a Big Data and Digitalisation Working Group and made it a full IUMI Forum with its own slot at conference.
Sustainability and ESG
Last but not least, IUMI’s latest strategic priority has been launched – ESG. Alongside data and digitalisation, this will be the dominant catalyst for change in our sector in the coming years.
From an IUMI perspective, and with explicit support from our members, we have stepped up our engagement:
- IUMI became a Supporting Institution for the UN’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance.
- We formed an internal ESG Working Group.
- We became a Supporting Partner of the newly created Poseidon Principles for Marine Insurance.
- IUMI will have an important role in continuing to nurture the debate across our industry sector.
Concluding, Mr. Turner poses key questions that will shape the trends of this period and beyond:
- How will the Russia/Ukraine conflict play out, and what will be the impact on international trade?
- How fast will be the pace of digitalisation?
- What decisions will the shipping industry take concerning the deployment of alternate fuels?
- How quickly will the offshore sector transition to embrace renewable energy production?
The only ‘constant’ in all of this activity is that ‘change’ is always with us. The world and our sector are reaching a key moment in history and it will be fascinating to see how events unfold over the coming years and decades.