North P&I Club posts 7pc tonnage gain and 99pc member retention
BRITISH global marine insurer North P&I Club has announced a seven per cent rise in member tonnage to 190 million gross tonnes, as well as an increase in free reserves to US$431 million for the year ending February 20.
"North's results represent another successful year for the club, despite the backdrop of challenging market conditions," said a company statement.
North said it widened its network with an opening of a Shanghai office in November. Operational and service delivery teams based at North's head office in Newcastle and across its regional offices were also strengthened.
"The club also returned five per cent of mutual premium to members for the 2016 policy year in recognition of the continuing difficult trading conditions facing many in the global shipping community," it said.
A 2.8 per cent investment return, premium income of $429 million and a sound underwriting strategy have contributed to the increase in free reserves and combined ratio position, which now stands at a five year average of 94.4 per cent, said the club.
In January, Standard & Poor's affirmed North's 'A' (stable) credit rating for the 13th consecutive year and strengthened its assessment of North Group's capital adequacy from very strong (AA) to extremely strong (AAA).
Claims levels remained stable in what was a year of two halves, with a steady first six months of 2016 followed by a number of larger claims in the second half of the policy year.
Although not as positive as 2015, which was an exceptionally benign year in terms of claims numbers, 2016 seems to represent a return to a more typical claims level by historical standards.
Said joint managing director Alan Wilson: "Looking forward, our focus will remain on controlled growth, based on meeting our financial targets and, crucially, our service targets for our members."
Said fellow joint managing director Paul Jennings: "The age of ships entered in the club remains well below the world average. We believe that strength comes from diversification and we are also proud of the breadth of vessel type and global distribution."
Said chairman Pratap Shirke: "Our strong results for 2016 are testament to our rigorous underwriting approach and our proactive claims and risk management ethos."