Ship insurance claims rise as Black Sea remains high-risk area
By Jonathan Saul
(Reuters) – Global insurers are expected to receive multiple marine insurance claims from ships damaged or lost as the conflict in Ukraine spills over to sea lanes, insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) said in a report on Tuesday.
Two sailors have been killed and six merchant ships hit by projectiles – sinking two of them – around Ukraine’s coast since the Russian invasion of its neighbor began on February 24.
London marine insurers have deemed the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to be high risk areas, pushing the cost of insuring ships in the region to record highs with an extra premium added to war cover annually for each trip.
In its annual safety and shipping review, the Allianz Group’s main subsidiary, AGCS, said insurers could also face claims stemming from vessels and cargo blocked or trapped in Ukrainian ports and coastal waters. while the Russian Navy controls the access points.
“The insurance industry is likely to see a number of claims under specialist war policies for vessels damaged or lost to sea mines, rocket attacks and bombings in conflict zones,” said Justus Heinrich of AGCS.
Moscow has called its action in Ukraine a “special operation” and its efforts to create a maritime corridor have been rebuffed by calls for a UN-run channel to allow dozens of ships and hundreds of sailors to leave the area without risk of being hit.
In a separate report last month, risk modeling firm PCS said industry-wide insured maritime losses from the dispute could range from $3 billion to $6 billion, with a working estimate of $5 billion. billions of dollars.
A broader ban on Russian oil as part of sanctions on Moscow could increase the cost and availability of bunker fuel, the AGCS said.
“In the longer term, we could see a shortage of bunker fuel, with more and more ships having to switch to non-compliant or substandard fuels, which could lead to machine failure claims in the future. said Heinrich of AGCS.
The study, which analyzed reported maritime casualties and losses for ships over 100 gross tons, said 54 ships were lost worldwide in 2021, down from 65 a year earlier and representing a drop of 57 % over the past 10 years.
“These advancements reflect an increased focus on safety measures over time through training and safety programs, improvements in vessel design, technology and regulations,” AGCS said. .
(Editing by Kirsten Donovan)