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Monday, 28 February 2011

What next for P&I?

Another P&I renewal has come and gone. Nobody got very excited this time.

A lot of the pleasure has now gone out of the business. This is mostly the fault of the EU, especially all of it, for introducing such red herrings as the Treaty of Rome and the Solvency II regime. In the process it threatens to make the clubs look just like every other insurance company – grey.

If Brussels has its way, even the traditional schadenfreude enjoyed by those who like to identify which clubs have been the biggest winners and which the biggest losers at renewal will be lost, forever.

Many of us were brought up to believe that the only two things you needed to know about the clubs were that they may or may not have been started to insure the bit of the hull that commercial underwriters were too scared to pick up, this at a time when ships were presumably colliding with each other every day of the week. As long as there were more or less equal numbers of people to champion each argument, everything was all right – assuming, of course, that the balance sheet was Micawber-compliant. Other than that, the clubs could be trusted to know what they were doing.

How long before Brussels starts pushing for a change in the traditional February 20 renewal date for all P&I business? February 20 is supposed to be the day that the Baltic Sea unfreezes. But it can’t always do so on that day, can it? Did anybody check this year, for example?


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