LMG steps into the Middle East protection and indemnity market.
It is a harsh reality of life in the Middle East that a fleet of 1979-built bulk carriers, even with a good track record, would struggle to obtain insurance in London, and would possibly be given to protection and indemnity (P&I) clubs that do not provide international services.
It is with this segment of the market in mind that the recently launched, Dubai-based LMG, through its partnership with Lloyd's broker Cooper Gay, strives to provide P&I services and keep claims moving.
“Our marine insurance presence in the Middle East is based on ground realities,” says Stephen Massey, director of LMG (UAE). “We are all about working with older tonnage, but still keeping up with increasingly stringent regulatory standards. We maintain the largest portfolio of hull and machinery P&I in the Middle East, with more than 600 ships from within the region.”
Massey concedes that most ships that they cover in the region are 20%-30% older than those seen in London. It is therefore an achievement that vessels operating in the Arabian Gulf have kept up with the standards required by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). “As a regional office, we place great emphasis on providing back-up and services that local shipowners need,” he says. “The fact that there are today half as many claims as there were three to four years ago provides mute evidence of how quickly standards have been rising.”
“A growing pool of brokers, legal services providers and insurers, good communications and the open business culture observed in Dubai has contributed to an attractive mix for those in shipping,” says Massey. “Owners that five years ago would have been operating 15 year old tonnage are now looking at newbuilds.”
Increasingly, LMG Dubai is beginning to resemble a London-based operation with add-on specialised local knowledge. At the same time, London is becoming more receptive to the Middle East market's good portfolio of business, with more underwriters coming to Dubai to know what they are up to.