London reports marine insurance rise

Lloyds of London. Credit: Martin Erhard
Lloyds of London. Credit: Martin Erhard

The London market is fighting back in its battle with rival global insurance centres over marine insurance business.

The International Underwriting Association (IUA) published its annual London Company Market Statistics Report that provides figures for the London market excluding Lloyd’s, reporting a rise in the level of marine premium written seen last year.

Lloyd’s has traditionally been strong in the marine sector and reported premiums of GBP3.76 billion (USD4.93 billion) for 2017. The IUA reported that the marine premiums in the London company market rose to GBP2.72 billion, up from GBP2.282 billion for the previous 12 months.

The IUA figures indicates that the market is attracting new risks given the continued pressure on rates despite significant cargo losses because of last year’s North Atlantic Hurricane season. There is a view that the uptick is partially down to the increase in maritime business over the past year.

The statistics report provides a breakdown of income by class of business, which revealed property is the most significant sector, accounting for just over a quarter of all income, followed by liability and marine at 17% and 15% respectively.

Overall premium income in the London market increased to GBP26.3 billion. Gross written premiums in London for 2017 was GBP18.33 billion, while a further GBP7.98 billion was identified as written in other locations but overseen and managed by London operations.

The figures represent an increase of 16% (GBP3.59 billion) since last year’s edition of the IUA’s London Company Market Statistics Report, when the overall intellectual and economic premium total for 2016 was reported as GBP22.7 billion. There have been significant increases in both premiums written in London (GBP2.3 billion) and controlled business written elsewhere (GBP1.3 billion).

Dave Matcham, chief executive officer of the IUA, said, “The growth in overall premium income is the most striking feature of this year’s London Company Market Statistics Report. It is a trend that has also been observed in the Lloyd’s market and is driven by a number of different factors.

“We have received multiple reports of companies embarking on new lines of business and growing premium volumes in specific classes as part of dedicated business plans. There are also instances of books of business being moved to the UK from other companies within a wider multinational group and of new insurance products being developed and offered to clients.

“In addition, our survey, now in its eighth year of publication, continues to improve its data collection operation in order to produce the most comprehensive analysis possible. This factor, in itself, may account for around one third of the overall increase in premium.”