Strike Club plans move

The Strike Club is planning to move the mutual that insures its European members from Luxembourg to the UK.

The move is a response to a changing European regulatory climate and the more stringent demands that insurers will face under the Solvency II regime due to start in 2016.

A final decision has yet to be taken by club directors headed by chairman Johan Hagn-Meincke of the Clipper group, but the principle of moving the domicile was agreed at a board meeting in Hong Kong and that it will be put to members for approval.

The Strike Club set up more than 50 years ago to offer cover for delays to vessels arising from labour disputes operates linked mutuals in Bermuda and Europe. Agreements covering reinsurance arrangements also ensure premium rating and calls are identical.

The BBB+ club rated which has widened the ship delay and loss of earnings cover over the years while also offering war and piracy cover reports that reserves at the February start of the new policy year stood at $35m compared to $34.8m a year earlier.

So it looks as if 2013 was basically a breakeven year for the club which insures a fleet of 2,700 vessels of 120m dwt. Entries vary according to risk however as owners can pick and mix the covers required.

The Hong Kong board meeting was told the renewal rate was 99% in terms of premium with the club continuing to benefit from labour disputes around the world

During the last year, the continuing fragility of the political and economic landscape put further pressure on ship operators trying to trade vessels at a profit against a background of generally weak freight markets,” the club notes in a circular to members.

“Some of the worst trouble spots for delays are all too familiar but some were unexpected. For example, this year there continued to be many strikes in South America, affecting numerous vessels entered in the club and producing a large number of claims, as well as recurring problems on the US West Coast. In the Far East, problems were seen in places less well known for delays, such as Hong Kong and Indonesia," the circular notes.

The Strike Club’s top manager, Bill Milligan, warned that extremely damaging labour strike action continued to hit shipowners and charterers.

Milligan highlighted a rise in labour militancy in China with the Middle East continuing to pose risks although Suez Canal transits so far appear to be unaffected.

Members of the Strike Club include Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, Rickmers Trust, Leonhardt & Blumberg, Western Bulk, Toko Kaiun, Vrontados, Graig group, Pacific Direct Line, Bunge and Furness Withy chartering.