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Insights: H. Elder Brown, Jr.

Elder Brown web.jpg

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Fidelis Group Holdings LLC and Continental Underwriters, Ltd.   For those in the marine insurance and underwriting communities, H. Elder Brown, Jr. needs no introduction. That’s because over the course of the past 27 years, Brown has taken Continental Underwriters Ltd. (CUL) from a small family business to one of the largest brown water marine underwriters in the United States. More recently, Brown returned CUL to private ownership by purchasing CUL back from Houston Casualty Company in 2009.  Today, CUL is an industry leader in part due to the company’s excellent underwriting and claims handling. A 1974 graduate of Loyola University, Brown has steadily risen through the ranks of marine insurance, serving along the way in the Claims Department, as Assistant Underwriter, Senior Underwriter and eventually earning his current position as Chairman of the board of directors. Starting out as an Offshore Crew boat captain, Brown at one time operated and managed oilfield crew boats. As such, his knowledge of this unique market niche extends far beyond simple dollars and cents. This month, he weighs in for MarineNews readers on a host issues affecting marine insurance and those who depend on those services. How do you view the marine insurance marketplace at the current time? How about in one year? Five?

U.S. Extends Marine War Risk Insurance

Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta has approved an extension of the authority to provide war risk insurance under Section 1202 of the 1936 Merchant Marine Act (Act). Unlike Section 1205 insurance, which is provided to the Department of Defense (DOD) on vessels chartered to them at no premium and with a full DOD indemnity, Section 1202 insurance is underwritten by DOT in return for a premium from shipowners. This insurance or reinsurance of vessels is available for vessels (including

Walker Joins Moore Stephens

Moore Stephens has appointed Lloyd's insurance market expert Tim Walker a consultant to its insurance and business intelligence team. Walker has extensive experience of international - and particularly Lloyd's - underwriting markets. He was a director of Miller Underwriting Agencies for ten years until starting his own full-time Lloyd's consultancy in 1993, in which capacity he acts as manager to Charles Taylor & Co, managers of The Stop Loss Mutual Insurance Association Ltd.

Norwegian Courts Reject Insurance Forum

Wikborg Rein, a Norwegian law firm, said Norway's Supreme Court has closed a door to claimants attempting to act against foreign shipowners insuring themselves in Norway. Anders Faerden, a partner in Wikborg Rein's Oslo office, said, "A Mexican insurance company has unsuccessfully brought a claim in Norway against a major Russian shipowner. The claimant tried to sue the Russian company in Norway because it had its P&I cover with Oslo-based Skuld.

Logistics Insurance Provider Opens New Corporate HQ

Tactical Insurance Group has opened a new corporate office to facilitate the expansion of the company into its targeted industry sector –  Logistics Insurance. One of the South Central region's leading insurance brokers, Tactical Insurance Group, has moved into a newly expanded corporate office facility in Dallas as part of its strategy to grow its Logistics Insurance practice throughout Texas and surrounding states.

XL Offers KRE Cover to Yacht Owners

Denise Balan

  To help yacht owners navigate increasingly risky waters, XL Group is adding a Kidnap, Ransom & Extortion (KRE) Crisis endorsement to ShipShape, and ShipShape Plus, its recreational marine insurance coverages. "Crisis events like kidnapping, disappearance and hijack are increasingly real threats, especially on open seas," explained Denise Balan, Country Manager of XL's US Crisis Management business which developed the KRE endorsement

Moore Stephens Says Insurance Industry Must Embrace Business Intelligence

Regulatory developments mean that failure to make proper use of business intelligence systems and actuarial consultancy to assess risk could lead not only to significant financial losses but also to disciplinary penalties for insurance underwriters and brokers, according to leading accountant and consultant Moore Stephens. John Harbor, head of the Moore Stephens Insurance Industry Group, says, "Professional risk analysis and modern data management techniques are

Insurance Advice for Marinas & Shipyards

McDermott Costa Insurance Brokers offers risk-reducing advice to marinas & shipyards regarding third party vendors   Third party service providers can pose serious risk and liabilities for marina and shipyard owners. Without the proper due diligence these marine companies could find themselves footing large bills should a dispute occur.   As a California insurance agency that specializes in ocean marine insurance for boat yards, marinas, yacht clubs

Barbican Acquires Marine Insurance Broker

Barbican Group Holdings Limited (Barbican) announced that it has acquired Seacurus Ltd (Seacurus), a U.K.-based specialist marine insurance broker. Established in 2004, Seacurus focuses specifically on revenue protection in the marine insurance market. A provider of marine kidnap and ransom insurance, the company offers a range of products designed to help companies in the shipping industry manage a wide variety of operating and financial risks.

IMG Enhance Marine Group Medical Insurance Program

International Medical Group® (IMG) a leader in designing, distributing and administering global medical insurance benefits, has announced its enhanced flagship marine group medical insurance program. According to IMG, the enhancements enable ship owners to provide their crew comprehensive coverage for eligible medical expenses, which is increasingly important with the enactment of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006).

Liberian Registry Appoints London GM

Kostas Ladas (Photo: Liberian Registry)

The Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the U.S.-based manager of the Liberian Registry, has appointed Kostas Ladas as general manager of its London office. Ladas joins LISCR from London-based ship and insurance broker and agent Victoria Steamship Co. Ltd

BW Offshore Suspends Dividend

BW Offshore, a builder and operator of ships that can produce and store oil offshore, suspended its dividend until outlook for the oil sector improved, it said on Monday. The firm posted third-quarter earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation and amortisation of $174 million against

North Group Increases Projected Free Reserve

Directors of the North P&I Club and Sunderland Marine Insurance Company (North Group) have revised their projection for the group’s year-end free reserve up to $380 million, an increase of 12 percent on last year and $20 million more than estimated at the half-year point.

S&P Raises Steamship Mutual outlook to Positive

Pic Credit Steamship Mutual

  Poor’s has revised its outlook on Steamship Mutual to Positive from Stable. The A- financial strength rating has been reaffirmed. In their announcement Standard & Poor’s note: • the Club’s risk-based capital is expected to remain extremely strong;

IUMI Sees Challenges Amidst Growth


The International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) unveiling its annual statistical report on the marine insurance market   Global premiums for 2014 amount to USD 32.6bn. Although a 3.2% reduction on the 2013 figure, converting local currencies to a single US dollar figure was impacting on

China Port Cargo Losses to Reach $1.5 bln

Explosions in the Chinese port of Tianjin last month would lead to cargo losses of at least $1.5 billion, and were having a "significant impact" on the marine insurance sector, a trade body said on Tuesday. "We are expecting to see cargo losses of at least $1

Risk Profile of Hull Market Improving - IUMI

IUMI’s Ocean Hull Committee Chairman, Mark Edmondson

  IUMI – the International Union of Marine Insurance – at its annual conference in Berlin yesterday announced that global hull premiums for 2014 totalled USD 7.6bn, a 5.8% reduction from 2013. IUMI’s Ocean Hull Committee Chairman, Mark Edmondson, commented

Nigeria's Oil Exports Under Threat

Nigeria's latest effort to combat theft could imperil its oil income lifeline, compounding the damage the crude price fall has done to its finances, access to dollars and imports. Oil traders and shipping brokers said a newly implemented "letter of comfort" requirement under which

Ship Operating Costs Down in 2014 -Moore Stephens

Photo: Andrew Aiello

Total annual operating costs in the shipping industry fell by an average of 0.8 percent in 2014, said international accountant and shipping consultant Moore Stephens. This compares with the 0.3 percent average fall in costs recorded for 2013

Swiss Re Establishes North America Marine Team

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has expanded its marine business by opening a North America marine office. Beginning October 1, 2015, the New York-based team will provide ocean cargo insurance, with additional products to follow, the company said.  

Re-Drawal of High Risk Area in Indian Ocean

Revision of the HRA boundary back to its original state should thus greatly reduce the insurance costs of Indian shipping companies.

  The International bodies have agreed to India’s efforts to push back the High Risk Area (HRA) from 78 degrees East longitude to the 65 degrees East longitude. This will result in huge savings for India’s EXIM trade and consumers on account of reduced insurance premium and

Phillips Heads Gulf Petrochem's Credit Risk, Bunkering Div.

John Phillips

Gulf Petrochem has appointed John Phillips as Head of Credit Risk for the Group’s Bunkering division. With over 30 years experience in the Maritime sector, John is a well known expert in the industry and will focus on areas such as Credit Management (focused on Bunker business)

New 'Guide to Hull & Machinery'

Image: Braemar SA

International multidisciplinary marine surveyors and consultants Braemar (Incorporating The Salvage Association), (Braemar SA), has published the third edition of its Guide to Hull & Machinery.   The publication is primarily designed to help those with a nontechnical background and who

Another Hurdle for Iran Oil Tankers Comeback

Sourena is a FSU for Iranian crude export located in the Persian Gulf, south of Iran. Photo by National Iranian Oil Company

 Iran's oil tanker fleet is expected to face more hurdles before many of the vessels can start trading again due to insurance hiccups and tougher requirements over sea worthiness by potential foreign clients, despite easing of sanctions, reports Reuters.  

Indian Ocean: No Insurance Premium Reduction Likely

Image: Protection Vessels International Ltd

 In October a number of trade bodies released a joint press release to formally announce a reduction of the High Risk Area (HRA).     Insurance companies have said the reduction may not result in reduced insurance costs due to the assessment of insurance risk being dependent on

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