In the early nineties of the previous century a new phenomenon in the world of Protection and Indemnity insurance started to take shape; Fixed Premium P&I.
Until then the P&I industry was dominated by the mutuals, the International Group of P&I Clubs who were and still are united in in the International Group Agreement (IGA). Fixed premium P&I insurance was established as an alternative to that mutual system.
As from then there was a new situation; Mutual versus Fixed.
Back then fixed facilities were considered as a strange breed within the P&I industry and were heavily criticized, in particular by the mutuals. It admittedly has taken some time for the fixed premium market to develop into a true alternative to the mutual system, but nowadays fixed premium P&I is well established and forms a viable alternative. Not for all types of tonnage, but certainly for the small to medium sized shipowners and vessels. In fact, the perception of fixed P&I has changed so much over time that over the last 5 years IGA clubs have created their own fixed facilities as an answer to the advance of fixed P&I in the market.
The biggest differentiator between fixed and mutual is that a fixed facility will not charge general increases and supplementary calls. What you see is what you get. Within a mutual the members bear the results i.e. even when a member does not have any claims, it will need to contribute to the claims of other members. So, if at year’s end it turns out that there is insufficient premium income to cover the claims, a general increase is applied to all members and in some cases, supplementary calls are applied to previous underwriting years. A true fixed facility, and this is widely regarded as the typical trademark of a true fixed facility, judges Assureds on their individual performance. Assureds will not be penalized for claims caused by others.
But is that still the case? Is fixed P&I in today’s world still truly fixed?
Consolidation is something that has also found its way into the fixed P&I market. Some of the fixed facilities created by IGA clubs have been sold off, independent fixed facilities have been taken over by large conglomerates, or companies involved in managing IGA clubs have taken over fixed facilities, also becoming large animals in the P&I atmosphere. There are not much true independent fixed P&I facilities around anymore.
What is the impact of this development on fixed P&I?
The fixed facilities say that this gives them financial strength and a wider platform to operate from. At the same time, they try and echo that typical fixed P&I sound.
The question is if they can still be considered as a true fixed facility. That typical fixed P&I trademark, judging Assureds on their individual performance, is difficult when combining fixed facilities into one or when P&I is just another product within a range of plenty. Although they will say that they will not apply general increases, the results of the conglomerate, or the lack thereof, are often used to push and apply increases, even on those who have clean loss records. Sounds familiar?
It appears that over the years the mutual system and the fixed system have grown closer and have become more alike. Fixed facilities that have been taken over are echoing that typical fixed P&I sound and have become a shadow of what once was. General increases are applied but wrapped in a package to hide what they really are. Some IGA clubs conceal general increases as if they are judging Assureds on their individual performance.
If the distinction between mutual and fixed fades, what choice is left?
EF Marine is perhaps one of the last independent and true fixed facilities. We are not part of a large management company managing various facilities nor are we not part of a large conglomerate. We are truly independent; a true fixed facility and we are all about providing service.
Our long term and exclusive partner is Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, “AA- “rated by Standard and Poor’s. A stronger security than many IGA clubs and stronger than all fixed facilities.
EF Marine is a new name in the market, but team EF Marine is certainly not new. Team EF Marine has over 200 years of combined experience in fixed premium P&I.
Meaningful and top of the bill service, both on underwriting and claims. Our claims handlers are ready to protect your balance sheet whenever necessary. Our underwriters are ready to provide instant, tailored and comprehensive assistance to your insurance needs. No general increases and no influence of results that are not linked to P&I. Just a straightforward, easy to understand and tailored P&I insurance cover where Assureds are judged by their own individual performance.
Should you have any questions following this information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
EF MARINE – ENSURING THE FUTURE, YOUR FUTURE