American Club Reports Solid Performance

Monday, June 16, 2003
The American Club reported its results for 2002 at its annual meeting in New York. “The future is bright,” said Paul Sa (Standard Shipping Inc.), the club’s chairman, “and I am certain that the club will continue to enjoy success at the forefront of the global P&I industry over the years to come.” In addition to a further increase in entered tonnage, taking the club to a total of nearly 19m. gross tons, it also achieved a post-tax operating profit of $3.2m. despite difficult trading conditions. It was the second successive year to show an operating surplus, bucking an almost universal trend seen elsewhere in the market of year-on-year losses. The New York-based mutual once again saw its premium income rise – to $53.3m. from $41.5m – an uplift of 28%. Total assets grew by 15% (to $119.2m.), while free reserves rose by an identical margin of 15% to $20.3m. Although claims incurred rose by just under $8m., reflecting substantial tonnage growth over the period, paid claims actually reduced by 15% due to the stabilisation of claims costs during the preceding 12 months. Another feature of the year was further diversification of vessel type and domicile of management. Non-US members now account for nearly 80% of the total, widely spread around the world. Sa told the meeting that the year 2002 began with a significant increase in entered tonnage, and steady growth and financial progress continued through the year. The 2003 renewal in February brought new highs in entered tonnage and premium revenue, “and the club is well positioned for strong growth in the future.” Endorsing these remarks, Joe Hughes, chairman and CEO of Shipowners Claims Bureau Inc., the managers, said that progress was made in every area of the club’s activities – operationally, financially and, most importantly, in the continuing development of service capabilities. Further, “2003 has started well …. entered tonnage stands yet again at a record level and the club’s chief financial indicators continue to move ahead, outperforming industry trends in most areas.” Sounding a note of caution, however, Hughes said it was unlikely that trading conditions for marine insurers in general and for P&I clubs in particular would dramatically improve in the short to medium term, especially in view of current geopolitical uncertainties which would continue to affect the business climate at large. At the meeting, Chih Chien Hsu (Eddie Steamship Company Ltd., Taipei) was welcomed as a new member of the board, the club’s first director from Asia.

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