We talk to Miller’s marine hull specialist about his role, how he sees the marine market in London and Asia developing to meet the needs of clients, and how Miller adds value in this area.
Stuart has over 20 years' experience within the marine hull market, with a particular focus on hull and machinery and marine war for clients globally.
What is your role at Miller and how much of your time is focused on Asia?
I have worked in the marine hull team at Miller for the last 10 years and have geographical responsibility for Asia and Scandinavia. I would say that 60-70% of my time is spent focusing on Asia. Particular territories include; Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.
How do you work with the Miller Singapore team on Asian business?
Historically, most of the marine business we have undertaken has been produced and serviced in London, as this is where the bulk of our resource is. We do however hope to develop our marine business in Asia further in the near future.
Can you articulate Miller's value proposition in respect of Asian marine business/clients?
Miller offers an expertise and personnel continuity that few of our competitors can match. We have built up a client base and knowledge in Asia over many years and travelled with supporting underwriters to further strengthen their understanding and commitment to the area.
What are the main trends in the marine sector? Are these the same for the London and Asian markets?
If you look at the Lloyd’s T (marine hull) audit code triangulations, you will see that this market has not made a profit for the last 5-10 years. This has arguably been balanced by profitable income on war, increased value (IV) and builders’ risks, but the rating on these classes has become so marginal that this model has become less effective. Add to this the USD100bn losses that have flooded the international markets and you will understand that underwriters and their management are taking steps to arrest the longstanding soft market. This has led to premium reductions basically ceasing but with most good fleets being offered as expiring rates or small rises. In contrast however, this is not what we are seeing in the Asian markets with reductions on good fleets still being the norm. This divergence in opinion certainly creates challenges, with our role endeavouring to offer the best terms to assureds in the market, without compromising the quality of security.
Miller's Marine expertise
How do you expect the marine insurance sector in Asia to change over the next two to three years?
This is a very difficult question to answer as the results on marine business in Asia cannot be very profitable, so logically the rates should firm. However, in my 20 years of working in Asia this has never proved to be the case. Rate increases do occur occasionally but this tends to be when capacity is very restricted, which is not yet the case in the international market.
What do you see as the main strengths and value of the London market?
Expertise, continuity and security would be the main three. Obviously competitive pricing is equally important but this varies depending on the state of the market. As outlined above, the London market is currently firmer than the Asian markets but in recent years has been very competitive, with the result that a lot more Asian business has flown West.
The importance of paying claims cannot be underestimated either. When coming to Miller, you know it has a history of managing complex claims and have the security of knowing that our markets will always pay a valid claim. Our claims specialists sit in the same office and liaise closely with the placement teams, meaning we provide a seamless service to our clients at the time they need it most.
To find out more about Miller's hull and machinery capabilities, please contact Stuart who will be happy to discuss your needs.