The twelve P&I Clubs which comprise the International Group (the “Group”) between them provide marine liability cover (protection and indemnity) for approximately 90% of the world's ocean-going tonnage.
Through the unique Group structure, the member Clubs, whilst individually competitive, share between them their large loss exposures, and also share their respective knowledge and expertise on matters relating to shipowners' liabilities and the insurance and reinsurance of such liabilities.
Each Group Club is an independent, not-for-profit mutual insurance association, providing cover for its shipowner and charterer members against third party liabilities arising out of the use and operation of ships. Each Club is owned by its shipowner and charterer members, and its operations and activities are overseen by a board of directors, or committee, elected from the membership. The day-to-day operations of the Clubs are handled by professional managers, either "in-house" or external, who are appointed by and report to their Club board/committee.
The Clubs cover a wide range of liabilities, including loss of life and personal injury to crew, passengers and others on board, cargo loss and damage, pollution by oil and other hazardous substances, wreck removal, collision and damage to property. The Clubs also provide a wide range of services to their members including claims handling, advice on legal issues and loss prevention, and they regularly play a leading role in coordinating the response to, and management of, maritime casualties.
The Group is organised as an unincorporated association of the twelve member Clubs, and is chaired by a senior Club manager representative, elected on a three year rotation, from one of the Group Club managers. The current Group Chair, Andrew Cutler, Chief Executive Officer of Britannia, was elected in November 2022.
The internal administration and the external engagement and representation of the Group is co-ordinated by the Group secretariat, based in the City of London and headed by the Group Chief Executive Officer.
The day-to-day work of the Group is carried out through a large number of committees and working groups which address a broad range of legal, regulatory, technical and insurance issues impacting on shipowners, operators and charterers.
The Group has three "core" functions, firstly the operation of the claims sharing ("pooling") arrangements and the collective reinsurance of these arrangements, secondly it operates as a forum for collecting and exchanging views between the Clubs and their shipowner members on matters relating to shipowners’ liabilities, and insurance of such liabilities, and thirdly it provides a collective industry voice for the purposes of engaging with external stakeholders including intergovernmental maritime organisations, national governments, marine authorities around the world and the shipping and marine insurance/reinsurance industries.
Claims pooling and Reinsurance
The primary function of the Group is the co-ordination and operation of the Clubs’ claims pooling arrangements. Liabilities which exceed the individual Club retention which is currently set at US$10 million are shared between all twelve Clubs in accordance with the terms of the Pooling Agreement. Much of the Group's day to day work involves defining and refining the scope of cover for pool claims, and the rules and guidelines under which claims are shared between the Clubs.
This claim-sharing agreement is underpinned by a very extensive, annually renewed, commercial market and captive reinsurance programme which is visualised in the Reinsurance section of this website.
Forum for sharing information
By bringing together the knowledge and expertise of the twelve member Clubs, the Group provides a unique and invaluable forum for sharing information on a very broad range of matters of concern to Clubs and their members. The extensive experience which resides within the individual Club managements in the underwriting, legal, claims management and loss prevention fields, brought together within the numerous Group committees and working groups, provides an unparalleled source of knowledge and expertise which can be brought to bear in exploring and developing practical solutions for shipowners’ insurance needs and requirements, and this resource will become increasingly important in the challenging and evolving times ahead for the shipping industry.
With the Group Clubs representing around 90% of the world's oceangoing tonnage, and covering virtually every type of vessel, the Group provides a very effective single voice for the Clubs and their members to engage with governments, legislators and maritime regulators on matters relating to shipowners’ liabilities to ensure the availability of adequate and sustainable insurance for such liabilities, and to help to drive and shape effective and balanced policies and regulations governing such liabilities.