Global marine insurance results indicate a modest recovery but COVID-19 adds uncertainty for the future, IUMI reports
IUMI – the International Union of Marine Insurance – presented its analysis of the latest marine insurance market trends during its annual conference which this year is being held online. Marine underwriting premiums for 2019 were estimated to be USD 28.7 billion which represents a 0.9% reduction from 2018.
The USD 28.7 billion global income was split between these geographic regions: Europe 46.3%, Asia/Pacific 31.8%, Latin America 10.3%, North America 5.3%, Other 6.3%.
2019 saw Europe’s global share reduce slightly from 46.4% (2018) to 46.3% and Asia’s share increase modestly from 30.7% (2018) to 31.8%.
For global marine premium by line of business, cargo continued to represent the largest share with 57.5% in 2019, hull 24.1%, offshore energy 11.7% and marine liability (excluding than IGP&I) 6.8%.
The offshore energy market saw a modest 1.4% reduction in total premiums in 2019 when compared with 2018. Premiums dropped sharply from 2014 to 2016 but more recent years have seen a flattening out. Premiums in this market are strongly influenced by the oil price. There is generally an 18-month time lag between a rise in the oil price and activity levels catching up. Oil prices had begun to recover from 2016, although with some variation, which led to a reactivation of offshore facilities and a corresponding stabilizing of the global premium base. However, COVID-19 has reduced the demand for oil forcing prices downward again leading to more uncertainty in this sector. The cycle of laying-up and then reactivating offshore assets brings more unpredictability to this market.
The global premium base for the cargo market for 2019 was reported to be USD 15.6 billion – a 1.5% reduction from 2018. Exchange rate fluctuations impact most heavily on this sector and so comparisons with earlier years cannot be exact.
Loss ratios in Europe for the years 2014-2016 were particularly high, but all recent years up to 2019 were under the influence of an increasing exposure to nat-cat or man-made events combined with accumulations on ships and in ports which were not necessarily reflected in premiums. 2019 started at around 60% which demonstrates a modest improvement compared with previous years and is expected to end slightly below 70% if the year follows a standard development pattern. Loss ratios in Asia were stable until 2014 but then increased dramatically to around 60% in 2018; there appears to be a slight improvement in 2019 with a loss ratio of around 50%. In Latin America, the ratio is stable in the 50-55% range. Taken together, these loss ratios indicate the beginnings of a market recovery.
Global premiums relating to the ocean hull sector are relatively stable. IUMI reports a 2019 premium number of USD 6.9 billion representing just a 0.2% increase on the previous year.
Loss ratios in Europe improved slightly in 2019 but are likely to reach at least 80% once the underwriting year is fully reported. This gives scant solace to hull underwriters who have endured a technical loss almost every year since 2005. Loss ratios in Asia are slightly improved at just below 70% and the ratio has dropped in the Latin American market to around 60%.
The International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) represents 45 national and marine market insurance and reinsurance associations. Operating at the forefront of marine risk, it gives a unified voice to the global marine insurance market through effective representation and lobbying activities. As a forum for the exchange of ideas and best practice, IUMI works to raise standards across the industry and provides opportunities for education and the collection and publication of industry statistics. IUMI is headquartered in Hamburg and traces its roots back to 1874.