The American Club has quickly ­replaced key staff members who left its fixed premium business to join the rival North P&I Club.

North P&I, which is based in Newcastle, north-east England, has taken on three personnel who have played an important part in the growth of the American Club’s successful fixed premium venture Eagle Ocean Marine (EOM).

Business managers Brian Davies and Sebastian Tjornelund, along with claims manager Gustavo Gomez, will help North P&I set up a venture in London aiming to grow its fixed premium business across protection and indemnity and hull and machinery lines.

North P&I is keen to continue growing the fixed premium offering after its group company, Sunderland Marine, contributed $11m to the club’s bottom line in its 2018 policy year.

The acquisition of Sunderland Marine in 2014 was North P&I’s first major diversification move away from its mutual P&I business. But Sunderland Marine ­focuses on small coastal and fishing vessels, and North P&I management is keen to expand into larger fixed premium merchant ship markets.

Commenting on the recruitment drive, North P&I chief executive Paul Jennings said: “The ­diversification has provided a very solid platform for the North and we are now looking further afield into the hull and machinery.”

'Not affected by departures'

However, American Club chief ­executive Joe Hughes insisted that EOM would not be affected by the London staff losses.

Fixed premium has been a hard-fought battleground among P&I clubs looking to diversify, and EOM has been one of the success stories, recording a 30% premium growth over the last year, according to Hughes.

He said the Shipowners Claims Bureau (SCB), the company that manages the American Club, had increased its global service capability and the staff departures have “in no manner diminished the ability of both EOM and the American Club to provide market-­leading service to their respective constituencies of insureds and members alike over the months and years ahead”.

Following the departures, Chris Lowe has been appointed to EOM senior marketing and business ­development liaison, supported by Jamie Baggett. Despina Beveratou has been made claims liaison manager.

Hughes is also lining up senior appointments at SCB in London and Hong Kong related to the EOM and mutual P&I business.

“EOM’s insureds, their inter­mediaries and its other business ­associates and friends, in addition to those of the American Club and its members, can be certain that the superior service to which they have become accustomed will continue with undiminished energy and effect­iveness in the future,” he said.