The Shipowners’ Club, the leading mutual P&I insurer in the smaller and specialist vessel sector, has reported resilient results for the year ending 31 December 2019.
The Club has reported a combined ratio of 105.1%, an increase in Member to 7,886 and an overall surplus of US$ 36.1m, including an investment portfolio gain of US$ 48.8m.
Consistent with last year, whilst there has been growth in income, the Club has also seen some growth in both claims costs and administrative expenses. The overall claims cost has increased by US$ 5.5m compared to 2018 and this has therefore contributed to the overall underwriting loss of US$ 10.3m (a combined ratio of 105.1%). The claims cost inflation has been driven by International Group pool claims, which have seen a year on year increase of US$ 6.1m.
Operating expenses amounted to US$ 53.7m (2018: US$ 52.2m) – a 2.9% increase. Operating expenses include the acquisition costs incurred from Members’ brokers (which saw a small decrease in the year) as well as the administrative costs of running the Club.
The higher claims costs and administrative costs were countered by a year on year decrease in the Club’s reinsurance costs, from US$ 29.6m in 2018 to US$ 24.9m in 2019.
- Combined ratio 105.1% (2018: 104.2%)
- Capital and free reserves US$ 340.0m (2018: US$ 303.8m)
- Earned premiums, net of reinsurance US$ 200.0m (2018: US$ 195.0m)
- Incurred claims, net of reinsurance US$ 156.5m (2018: US$ 151.0m)
- Underwriting deficit US$ 10.3m (2018: deficit of US$ 8.2m)
- Investments returned a gain of US$ 48.8m (2018: loss of US$ 28.8m)
- Entered Members 7,886 (2018: 7,444)
The Club has generated a surplus for the year of US$ 36.1m (2018: deficit of US$ 37.9m). This surplus is primarily the result of an underwriting loss of US$ 10.2m (2018: loss of US$ 8.2m)mitigated by a gain from the investment portfolio of US$ 48.8m (2018: loss of US$ 28.8m).
The Club’s investment portfolio returned an overall gain in the year of US$ 48.8m which was very welcome following the loss of US$ 28.8m in the prior year. The last few years have been reasonably volatile in the financial markets, with the portfolio returning a strong gain in 2017 and 2019, but a loss in 2018. The Club manages the investment portfolio with a long-term view and it is pleasing to note that the returns generated from the portfolio have been able to be used for Members’ benefit by subsidising the Club’s underwriting losses in the past two financial years.