The North of England P&I club confirmed
its emergence as one the world's strongest maritime insurers today (12 September 2003) with publication of its accounts for the 2002/2003 financial year. The A- rated shipping mutual reported another 12 months of solid growth in tonnage, income and reserves.
Chairman George Procopiou confirmed in the club's 2003 'Management Report' that entered tonnage at the February 2003 renewal grew by 10% to 43 million GT, with 35 million GT owned and 8 million GT chartered. Gross premium income for all insurance classes rose by 25% in 2002/3 to US$ 133.1 million and the overall free reserve increased by 14.5% to US$ 99.6 million.
Most growth came from existing members but Procopiou said the North of England would continue to look for suitable new members. 'As with any successful business, the club is reluctant to stand still so it continues to be acquisitive - but only in a highly targeted and selective way that builds on and complements the high quality membership,' he said.
Finance director Alan Wilson said that the club's disciplined approach to underwriting, conservative claims reserving and a solid investment return of 4.82% had combined to provide a very satisfactory positive financial result.
Paul Jennings, the club's underwriting director, said that the welcome renewal of the North of England' s retention reinsurance for a further three years with AA rated Swiss Re (SSREY)
further complemented the club's financial position.
Operating costs increased in line with tonnage growth such that the average expense ratio remained competitive at 9.3%. 'A programme of staff recruitment and internal systems refinement has enabled us to enhance service levels while keeping a close control on costs,' said claims director Andrew Taylor.
The North of England currently insures a fleet of 45 million GT, with a total of 2600 ships entered by 400 members from throughout the world. It is the only P&I club - and one of few European insurers - to have been given a 'positive outlook' in 2003 from leading rating agency Standard and Poor's.
The club is based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England with liaison offices in Greece and Hong Kong and a sister reinsurance company in Bermuda.