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IUMI’s Analysis Reveals Positive Trends in Marine Insurance, but Challenges Loom

The International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) delivered a promising outlook for marine underwriters at its annual conference. The global marine insurance market reported an impressive upswing in 2022, with total premiums reaching a substantial USD35.8 billion, marking an 8.3% surge compared to the previous year.

Regional Breakdown

  • Europe accounted for 47.7% of the global income.
  • Asia/Pacific contributed 28.4%.
  • Latin America represented 10.3%.
  • North America added 8.5%.
  • Other regions accounted for 5.1%.

Segment Performance Transport/cargo dominated with 57.3% of the market, followed by global hull at 23.4%, offshore energy at 11.5%, and marine liability (excluding P&I covered by IG clubs) at 7.7%.

Astrid Seltmann, Vice-Chair of IUMI’s Facts & Figures Committee, attributed this positive momentum to several factors. She mentioned a post-pandemic rebound in global trade, coupled with reduced market capacity, especially for hull insurance. Europe’s resilience was particularly noteworthy, signifying a strong performance after years of decline. However, growth in the Asian market appeared to slow.

Offshore Energy Sector The offshore energy market reported USD4.1 billion in premiums for 2022, marking a 7.3% increase from the previous year. This growth paralleled the strength of oil prices, which surged since late 2020. However, as oil prices began to dip in 2023, offshore energy insurers might face challenges due to the lag between price changes and asset activation.

Cargo Insurance Cargo insurance saw a global premium base of USD20.5 billion in 2022, an 8.3% expansion. Europe and North America experienced growth, while the Asia/Pacific region faced a slowdown, partly due to economic conditions and currency fluctuations. Cargo premiums closely align with world trade trends, which rebounded post-pandemic.

Ocean Hull Global premiums in the ocean hull sector reached USD8.4 billion, a 5.7% increase in 2022. Except for Latin America, all regions reported upturns. Notably, Nordic countries experienced growth, potentially due to their engagement in war risk coverage.

Loss ratios across regions saw downward trends, echoing cargo insurance’s positive shift. However, sustainability remains uncertain, given the volatility of high-value sectors like containers and cruise ships and the rise in major losses observed in 2023.

Future Challenges Jun Lin, Chair of IUMI’s Facts & Figures Committee, emphasized future challenges, including rising asset prices, inflationary pressures, fluctuating oil prices, geopolitical changes like the war in Ukraine, new cargo risks (e.g., lithium-ion batteries), and evolving environmental protection technologies. Cyber risks and the accumulation of high-value cargo in single port facilities are also concerns.

Despite these challenges, Lin expressed confidence in marine underwriters’ ability to adapt to change and continue to provide reliable coverage.

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