Report of the Directors
The Directors have pleasure in presenting their report and the financial statements of the Club for the year ended 20th February 2014.
The principal activities of the Club during the year were the insurance and reinsurance of Protection and Indemnity Risks on behalf of Members. There are no major changes planned to these activities during the current financial year.
The Consolidated Income and Expenditure Account for the Club has once again seen a growth in earned income during the year, resulting from an overall increase in entered tonnage, vessel numbers and membership. Gross premiums earned have increased by 9.8% to USD 243.7m and earned premiums net of reinsurance have risen by 6.5% to USD 213m.
The 2013 policy year saw claims frequency increase by 10% over the previous year. The increase in the cost of claims extended to other clubs’ claims declared to the International Group Pool. However, there has been an improvement in the claims reserves made for prior years. The combination ofthese factors has resulted in the ultimate value of claims (net of reinsurance) increasing to USD 158.5m.
Operating expenses, comprising business acquisition costs (brokerage) and administrative expenses, increased by 17.9% to USD 52.3m, with acquisition costs increasing in line with income to USD 30.7m and administrative expenses increasing by 28.9% to USD 21.6m.
Overall, the resulting underwriting surplus of USD 2.3m represents a combined ratio of 98.9%.During the year, the value of the Club’s invested assets managed by Berenberg, together with cash resources, have increased in value by USD 55.2m to USD 642.7m, represented by a positive return on investments of USD 24.7m and a net increase in liquid funds of USD 30.6m. The absolute return of the consolidated portfolio developed positively with a 4.4% return on capital. The Club’s exposure to equities remained at around 24% over the course of the year with 76% in fixed income securities and cash.
None of the major catastrophes forecast for 2013 actually occurred. The US economy escaped a meltdown brought about by the fiscal cliff, China’s economy avoided a hard landing, the Euro remained solid, there were no signs of any real inflation and Western economies increasingly emerged from the shadow of the financial crisis.
The stock markets in core regions of the USA, Europe and Japan were among the clear winners during the year. The MSCI World Equity Index reflects development of global developed market equities and increased by 19.87%. In contrast, emerging market equities and bonds had a more difficult time (MSCI Emerging Markets -8.73%). Various foreign currencies also came under pressure and depreciated significantly, in particular against the Euro and the US Dollar. This applied not only to the currencies of emerging markets, but also to supposed safe havens, such as the Australian Dollar.
The main performance drivers in the Club year were:
- Very positive absolute returns (+19%) from developedmarket equities.
- A strong outperformance of the Emerging Market Equity portfolio versus the MSCI Emerging Market Index.
- A bond portfolio driven by a strong Euro versus the US Dollar.
The overall investment return, after exchange rate movements, amounted to USD 21.8m for the year, and after provision for taxation the resulting surplus on ordinary activities amounted to USD 23.2m, increasing the capital and free reserves of the Club to USD 298.9m; an increase of 8.4% over the year.