The American Club reported solid progress in its financial performance and business development at the annual meeting of its members in New York. In spite of challenges encountered early in 2004, the year ended on a high, with both tonnage and premium reaching record figures against a background of strong operating results
Paul Sa (Standard Shipping Inc.), the club’s chairman, told members: “Although somewhat negative conditions prevailed at the beginning of the year, the club’s fortunes improved steadily during the later part of 2004. Tonnage and premium continued to grow, funds under investment increased substantially and, by year-end, the club’s free reserves had hit a new high despite anaemic capital markets.
“The first half of 2005 has also shown promise. The February renewal left the club at a record entry of nearly 22m. gross tons on projected annual premium income of some $150m., and other indicators are developing positively. Future prospects are excellent.”
Adding to Mr Sa’s remarks, Joe Hughes, chairman and ceo of Shipowners Claims Bureau Inc., the managers, said: “It is certainly pleasing to report some strong business results at the end of what was a challenging year.
“The club was able to make a respectable surplus for the year of just over $3m. This contributed to an increase in free reserves of 9.5% to about $35m.
“Of particular note is a robust increase in funds under investment – which grew by some 60% over the 12 months to December 31, 2004 – and the equally vigorous growth in premium income. This is especially so in the case of 2004 when premiums rose by 42% over the previous policy year, and have contributed to a healthy underwriting surplus for the year so far.”
Mr Hughes said these trends continued, with Q1 results for fiscal 2005 showing a growing statutory surplus (now in excess of $39m.) along with a further increase in GAAP free reserves, up another 4% since December.
He continued: “Most importantly, the club has continued to take significant initiatives in expanding the breadth and depth of its services to members. A new liaison and claims handling office has just been opened in Piraeus, and the latest publication, ‘Shipboard Safety’, in our loss prevention series appeared this week.”
Mr Hughes concluded: “This year marks an important milestone. It is now 10 years since the American Club embarked
on a dynamic new strategy aimed at growth and diversification of membership. I am pleased to say that since then the club has undergone unprecedented development, fully supported by the directors and members whose dedication to the mutual principle has enabled it to move forward with energy and resolve.”