Marine insurance claims are escalating. As a result, underwriters are adopting a much more active role in assessing the risks they are asked to cover in renewed efforts to reduce and control claims. The decision was taken by IUMI’s executive committee which met in London, and is being relayed to the worldwide membership. The chosen theme will run through the conference program, the planning of which is largely the responsibility of IUMI’s seven technical committees. These will meet in Berlin in April. There have been two changes among the committee chairmen. Lloyd’s underwriter Dominic Hoare now chairs the energy and offshore committee, and another Lloyd’s underwriter, Quentin Prebble, heads the loss prevention committee. In recent years, IUMI has welcomed a growing number of organizations, such as IACS and Intertanko, as affiliated members, and more are expected. In view of this, the executive committee has decided to revise the union’s Articles of Association to take account of affiliated members’ interests. The changes will be put to the council meeting for approval in Tokyo. The committee also endorsed a proposal made at the 2005 conference in Amsterdam to increase membership fees. These will be raised by 5% in 2007 and a further 5% in 2008, subscription levels being based on a graduated scale related to a member association’s premium volume. The increases are also subject to council approval. Attendance at the September conference is expected to be high, particularly from Asian markets. China has been invited to attend as observers. The event is being held at a time when the Japanese insurance market has entered a period of rapid growth, and sectors like marine are casting their net more widely to ensnare overseas business. Japan can already boast one of the highest marine premium volumes in the world. The conference will be at the New Otani Hotel complex, central Tokyo.