Friday, 30th July 2021
By way of introduction my name is Sian Dinnadge, and I am an Underwriting Director within the offshore division of Standard Club. I am one of six underwriters in the team which specialises in providing liability cover for shipowners, operators and charterers in the oil and gas and alternative energy industries.
I had graduated from law school at Queen Mary University of London with a first-class degree and thought I simply must be destined for a career in law. And so, I started The Legal Practice Course (LPC) but I quit after just a few months and found my way into P&I as an underwriting assistant. I always thought this move into P&I insurance would be a stepping stone onto something else, something more glamorous perhaps. Yet here I am sat at my desk (in my kitchen, mid pandemic), many moons later, feeling happy and engaged in my career and having recently celebrated 10 years at the Club.
A few months into my career my boss asked me if I would like to start the P&I Qualification (P&IQ). I wanted to understand my new role better, further my career and let’s be honest, please my new employer, so said “yes, I would love to”. I can now say this was a great decision to make for me personally and that I would highly recommend others to make the same move.
As is true for most people that work within the industry, I came into it with no understanding of ships or the shipping industry at all. The extent of my knowledge was based on ships in movies such as Titanic and The Perfect Storm which needless to say didn’t provide me with any knowledge of the industry and certainly did not inspire me to want to be a part of it. But what the first two modules of the P&IQ taught me very quickly is how deep the shipping industry’s history is and how relevant it remains. Even today with modern forms of transportation such as aircraft and high-speed trains, 90% of world trade still travels by sea. I realised from my early studies of the P&IQ the relevance of the industry I had become a part of and was encouraged to find myself involved in something so important and vital to modern day life as we know it.
The P&IQ helped me to hit the ground running in my career as it gave me a base of knowledge in elements of P&I that I would not have naturally encountered in my early days as an underwriting assistant. I learned about commodities, trading routes, vessel types, shipping hazards, international regulations and much more. Most importantly I got a sense of where I fitted into this huge industry. The qualification in the early modules offers a who’s who of shipping from shipowners, operators and ship managers, to ship brokers, insurance brokers, cargo and H&M insurers, ship agents, adjusters etc. This helped me to put my job into context and to better understand how P&I represents a small piece of a far larger jigsaw.
Moving through the qualification I got to deepen my knowledge in specific areas such as cargo liabilities and personnel liabilities. As somebody who has always worked within the offshore sector of P&I insurance, I have worked with members who are involved in offshore construction, drilling, production and increasingly in the renewables sector. This is a very specialised segment of the industry therefore it was important for me to round my education in respect of trading vessels through the P&IQ, which are ultimately the core of the International Group membership.
Generally speaking, I am an advocate of further education where it is possible and where the opportunity presents itself. I can only speak for myself when I say that the qualification has helped me with my career progression from underwriting assistant, through to deputy underwriter, underwriter and now underwriting director.