Tuesday 18 October 2011

South of England P&I Club

At the weekend we received news that it appeared the South of England P&I Club had ceased trading. The South of England is / was a commercial (rather than mutual) protection and indemnity (third party liability) insurer and covered a range of interesting bulk carriers and tankers, among other vessels.

The International Group of mutual P&I clubs had a North of England and a West of England club, so perhaps the creator of the South of England felt that merely choosing another point on the compass would give the Club gravitas on the international P&I scene, but alas it appears that it was not to be as we hear that the liquidators have been called in. 

We received first notification in writing via the Maritime Advocate circular: 'It is at the Clyde & Co Party at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall that we hear, courtesy of the Senior Partner’s welcome speech that the South of England P&I Club has appointed provisional liquidators in Bermuda and has ceased trading. So we bid farewell to another have-a-go P&I operation, set up outside the International Group Agreement; it joins a list comprising the Oceanus, Sphere Drake, Dragon, OMM and Pacindat to name but a few. It only goes to show that the market outside the IGA is demanding and only the very long term players in the fixed market can really cope. The short span of attention, which invests your very average insurance operation simply will not sustain a business with low general underwriting profitability, accomplished claims handling and a claims tail of 30 years or more.'

That seemed relatively final and was confirmed in a later article in Insurance Day, but it clarified that the liquidators were actually called in by the company's auditors, KPMG. Later in the day we could see in Lloyds List that the Club was actually promising to fight the appointment of liquidators in Bermuda and intended to keep trading. However, looking at the news from the Club throughout the year it does appear that the writing is on the wall for the venture. If or when it does cease trading it will join a long list of commercial P&I ventures which have failed to maintain a long-term presence in the market.

The South of England started trading in 2004 and was registered in Bermuda, but appears to have been managed from Zurich, with most of the day-to-day claims management and some other services taking place in the Club's UK base in Brighton.


ERIC 2 October 2022 at 04:22  

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