The Shipowners’ Club, the leading mutual P&I insurer in the smaller and specialist vessel sector, has reported encouraging results for the year ending 31 December 2020.
The Club has reported an underlying combined ratio of 101.0%, an increase in Members to 8,182 and an overall surplus of US$ 39.1m, including an investment portfolio gain of US$ 49.8m.
Whilst claims frequency remained broadly in line with last year, the Club recorded a US$ 2.5m reduction in the total cost of claims. This was in part due to lower levels of shipping activity as a result of COVID-19. The reduction in the cost of claims also contributed to a lesser underwriting deficit, when compared to 2019, of US$ 2.0m.
Total underlying operating expenses amounted to US$ 55.2m a 2.8% increase. Operating expenses include the acquisition costs incurred from Members’ brokers (which saw a US$ 1.4m increase in the year) as well as the administrative costs of running the Club.
The Club’s reinsurance costs for 2020 amounted to US$ 24.9m, which represents 10.7% of gross earned income, and is comparable to the 2019 reinsruance cost.
- Underlying combined ratio 101.0% (2019: 105.1%)
- Capital and free reserves US$ 379.1m (2019: US$ 340.0m)
- Earned premiums, net of reinsurance US$ 207.2m (2019: US$ 200.0m)
- Incurred claims, net of reinsurance US$ 154.0m (2019: US$ 156.5m)
- Underwriting deficit US$ 2.0m (2019: deficit of US$ 10.3m)
- Investments returned a gain of US$ 49.8m (2019: gain of US$ 48.8m)
- Entered Members 8,182 (2019: 7,886)
The Club has generated a surplus for the year of US$ 39.1m (2019: surplus of US$ 36.1m). This surplus includes a one-off pension charge of US$ 7.0m in respect of a payment made to the defined benefit pension scheme in the UK. Excluding this one-off charge results in an underlying surplus of US$ 46.1m.
The Club’s investment portfolio returned an overall gain in the year of US$ 49.8m. There was significant volatility in the investment markets in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting market uncertainty and negative earnings pressure. The financial markets (both fixed income (excluding treasuries) and equities) suffered significant falls in February and March 2020. Thereafter, there was a marked recovery, partly due to central bank intervention, with the result that the portfolio ended the year with a strong investment return of 8%.