The Shipowners’ Club, the leading mutual P&I insurer in the smaller and specialist vessel sector, has reported positive results for the year ending 31 December 2017.
The Club has reported a combined ratio of 99.1%, stability in Member and vessel numbers, a small uplift in gross tonnage to 25.48m and an overall surplus of US$ 47.7m, including a return on the investment portfolio of US$ 47.5m.
- Combined ratio 99.1% (2016: 98.6%)
- Capital and free reserves US$ 341.7m (2016: US$ 294.0m)
- Earned premiums US$ 186.6m
- Incurred claims US$ 136.1m
- Underwriting result US$ 1.8m
- Investment portfolio returned US$ 45.9m (net of tax)
- Entered vessels 32,932 (2016: 32,749)
- Gross tonnage 25.49m (2016: 25.44m)
The Club has generated a surplus for the year of US$ 47.7m (2016: US$ 14.7m). This surplus is primarily the result of an underwriting surplus of US$ 1.8m (2016: US$ 2.8m) and a surplus from the investment portfolio of US$ 47.5m (2016: US$ 11.8m).
During the course of the year the Club has seen a like for like reduction in earned income of 5.4%. Whilst the competitive positions in both the shipping industry and the insurance industry have continued during the 2017 financial year the Directors are pleased to note that the Club has seen stability in Member numbers, vessel numbers and tonnage. This leaves the Club well placed for positive growth as and when the current soft markets turn. In the meantime the Club’s strong capital position means that the Club has been able to continue to support its Members, through, for example, not seeking general increases to premium levels for the 4th year in a row.
When compared to 2016, the 2017 cost of claims experience has been positive, with a total cost of claims net of reinsurance for the year of US$ 136.2m (2016: US$ 149.1m). The overall claims cost has been helped by the Club’s own Members notifying a lower level of claims during the year, as well as there being some improvement in prior year claims
estimates. In addition, the Club’s share of costs from its participation in the pooling arrangement with the International Group has been lower.
The Club’s policy is to take an appropriately cautious approach to estimating the cost of claims and this has continued throughout 2017.
Operating expenses amounted to US$ 48.7m (2016: US$ 49.2m), which represents a 1% reduction in the year. Operating expenses include the acquisition costs incurred from Members’ brokers as well as the administrative costs of running the Club.
The overall underwriting surplus of US$ 1.8m results in a combined ratio of 99.1% (2016: 98.6%), which continues the Club’s mutual ethos of providing protection to Members at cost.
The Club’s investments returned an overall gain in the year of US$ 47.5m, which compares favourably to the prior year gain of US$ 11.8m. Investment markets, in both fixed income and equity, were favourable during 2017, which benefited the Members’ portfolio. In addition, the Club was pleased to note positive returns compared to portfolio benchmarks. The gross return on the investment portfolio for the year, before fees, was 8.4%.