A busy few months
The MECO Group, Managers of the Charterers P&I Club, has had a busy few months.
At the end of last year, we purchased a P&I provider specialising in insuring small craft called Carina from Tindall Riley, the Managers of the Britannia P&I Club. The acquisition of Carina complements our current product range with economies of scale and synergies across all departments, without clashing with any of our existing brands.
We’ve also rebranded CPIC Commodities and Logistics to MECO Marine, a brand that we will use to offer new products in the future, alongside existing established products such as our Shippers and Receivers cover for those selling cargoes FOB or buying CIF.
True North is performing strongly; clients appreciate our no nonsense, cost effective approach. In recent weeks True North has been busy assisting clients with disputes relating to LOI’s and related demands for security. Some clients have become reliant on using True North for support that we are now working on annual retainers with them which is a cost effective method of having external legal assistance “on tap” for shipping and commodity issues
The growth of both MECO Marine and True North is indicative of how well the Charterers P&I Club is performing. The underlying freight and commodity markets are still very volatile and general trading conditions remain challenging, but better than they were a year or so back.
Looking at underlying trends, the last decade has seen Charterers landed with some very large claims. It is rare, these days, that we find ourselves needing to explain the need for cover as it is now taken for granted that a charterer has a very real exposure. From an FD&D perspective, we are approaching the end of the year with trepidation, with MARPOL 2020 coming into force. The industry seems ill-prepared for this critical transition and it is likely to lead to many disputes during the early months of implementation.
Our relationship with Munich Re as our sole capital provider has passed its tenth anniversary; we are grateful to have the support of one of the largest and most financially stable global insurers. A Standard and Poors’ rating of AA- is not to be sniffed at in an unstable insurance market. In the last few months several major Lloyd’s syndicate have withdrawn entirely from marine insurance. A handful of syndicates have even closed completely and it is worthy of note that two of these closures were set up under great fanfare, by large Owners P&I Clubs only a few years ago. Not only did they fall dramatically short of their projected business plans, they also generated significant losses to their capital providers, which included their mutual shipowner members.
Over the last six months we have increased the amount of “product” on both our website and twitter account, which has led to a decrease in the need to send out specific bulletins. The idea is to produce condensed bulletin in summary form, which will be distributed every two months. We welcome feedback generally so if you would like to comment on what we produce and how we do it please contact us. In the last year, we have been experimenting with video as means of passing information quickly and hopefully in a more entertaining manner. Follow us on You Tube and Twitter to ensure that you don’t miss anything.
And finally, we say thank you and goodbye to Richard Bokszczanin, our Claims Director since 1997, who retired on 29 March 2019. Richard was a hard-working and humble man, with a formidable intellect. He eschewed the limelight’ but many clients had the benefit of his considerable talents; never more so than when handling some of our larger and more complex claims. He leaves with our profound thanks and best wishes for a happy, fulfilled and well-earned retirement with his wife Elizabeth. Edward Turner has been appointed to the MECO Board and has taken over the position Claims Director.
To discuss any of the issues raised in this update please contact Chris Else or Gavin Ritchie.