Shipping insurance under investigation
- March 28, 2020
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The European Commission has launched an antitrust investigation to ascertain whether marine-insurance agreements between ship-owners violate European Union competition rules.
The Commission, which announced the probe today (26 August), said regulators would “examine whether certain provisions of the agreements may lessen…as well as restrict” competition and access of commercial insurers to the market.
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It said it had concerns that current arrangements between so-called protection and indemnity insurance clubs, or P&I Clubs, which group together ship-owners and insure the vast majority of shipping vessels worldwide, were shutting out other insurers.
The investigation is being launched following the end this year of a 20-year exemption from EU competition rules granted to mutual insurance groups. The International Group of P&I Clubs said it will not seek a further exemption. It added that it was confident that the investigation would turn up no competition problems, as was the case in a similar review conducted in 1999.
There are 13 clubs in the group. Between them, they provide liability coverage for about 90% of shipping around the world.
The clubs are each independent, non-profit mutual insurance associations, providing protection for ship-owners in case of cargo loss or damage, accidents, injuries to crew or passengers and others onboard, or oil pollution.