Canadian market set for change as it gears up for IUMI 2019

Isabelle Therrien
Isabelle Therrien

The president of the Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters (CBMU) has said its hosting of the International Union of Marine Insurance’s (IUMI’s) annual conference next year comes at a significant time for the country’s shipping industry.

Isabelle Therrien was in Cape Town to receive the IUMI flag, which will be flown in Toronto next September, as the 2018 conference came to a close.

Speaking to IHS Markit, she said the Canadian market was set to see two significant new laws come into force in the coming year alongside the implementation of an ambitious plan to transform Canada’s maritime infrastructure.

The Canadian marine insurance market is currently worth USD335 million but Therrien explained that the market will see new rules and investment that will create greater demand.

“We are a country that is surrounded by water and the Canadian government recognises the importance of the maritime market,” she said. “The government recently launched the Ocean Protection Plan. It is a long-term strategy that will see USD1.5 billion invested in the maritime sector and its infrastructure with improvements to ports facilities and marine industries. The aim is to create a state-of-the-art maritime transport system and with it opportunities for insurers and our clients.”

Canada is also part of the discussions at the International Maritime Organization around Arctic shipping, with the likelihood of progress on the regulation of Arctic transit in the coming year.

The Canadian government is also to enact two new maritime laws that will create greater responsibilities for shipowners and operators.

“There is the new Ships Carrying Passengers Act, which is due to come into law by the end of the year,” explained Therrien. “This will require vessels that carry passengers to have a minimum liability cover of USD250,000 per passenger. This will create a new demand from passenger vessels that operate in Canadian waters.

“We are also expected to see the implementation of the Wrecked Abandoned and Hazardous Vessel Act C64 in 2019. There has been an issue with wrecks being left abandoned off the coast and the new act will put far greater onus on owners to carry out the removal of wrecks,” she added.

On the IUMI conference, Therrien said the CBMU was “honoured” to host the event in Canada for the third time in the event’s 145-year history.

“CBMU is a not-for-profit organisation that celebrated its centenary last year,” she added. “Preparations are already under way and I am sure we will see a range of topics discussed with digitalisation and autonomous vessels likely to feature again.”

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