Wednesday, 18th May 2011
TradeWinds Marine Risk Forum London 4-5 May 2011
The annual International Marine Risk Forum organised by TradeWinds was held in London on 4-5 May. Just over 130 delegates were listed as attending the event, roughly half of whom were speaker or panel participants, sponsoring organisation or event host/organiser representatives. Very few Shipowner representatives attended the Forum. Session topics at the forum included a focus on the marine hull market, Solvency II impact on marine insurers, convergence in the H&M; and P&I; markets, Piracy, Sanctions impact on insurers, Rating Agency perspective on the P&I; Clubs and a session devoted to P&I; \- "The Way Forward". The Deputy Head of Unit D2 within DG Competition, which is looking into the International Group and Club arrangements, was a speaker. The focus of her presentation was the assessment of pools under competition law and against the background of the recently renewed Insurance Block Exemption Regulation. She also touched on the Commission's current review of the International Group's arrangements. Prior to the finalisation of the Forum programme the International Group informed the organisers that in view of the ongoing review by the European Commission in which the Group is cooperating closely with the Commission case team, it would not be appropriate for the Group to participate in a public forum discussion on the issues which are the subject of the current Commission review. Group Secretary and Executive Officer Andrew Bardot informed the panel and delegates attending the session that this had always been and remained the Group position. The Deputy Head of Unit D2 also made clear from the outset that she was not prepared to discuss the detail or take questions in relation to the substance of the ongoing review. She stressed, however, that the purpose of the review is not to destroy the IG system or to put into question the mutual character of the P&I; Clubs, but to ensure shipowners benefit from effective competition between Clubs and between Clubs and commercial insurers. TradeWinds' reporting of the Forum (TradeWinds edition 13 May 2011) makes no mention of the statements made by the Group to the event organisers in the planning stages and at the event itself explaining the reasons for non-participation by the Group at this session and contains unfounded speculation on the reasons for the position adopted by the Group. The reporting makes only passing reference to the supportive comments made by other participants presenting at the Forum. Although not reported by TradeWinds, Group Club representatives participated in a number of the event sessions and provided informative and well received presentations on a number of issues including club governance, the value of the service provided to shipowners through the Group clubs and the extensive efforts of the Group clubs on behalf of shipowner members in relation to international sanctions legislation and regulation impacting on insurers.