When Considering Ocean Marine Coverage, Let Experience and Value Be Your Guide
At Liberty International Underwriters' (LIU) Ocean Marine division, that philosophy has been the driving force behind why the company is recognized as a problem solver for complex insurance requirements, according to Nigel Fitzgerald, senior vice president, LIU Ocean Marine.
Fitzgerald explains that the LIU Ocean Marine staff--claim experts, master mariners, engineers, underwriters and administrative service professionals--works closely with clients, serving more as partners than anything else.
He adds that in the midst of adversity and difficult circumstances, LIU enjoys a track record of working with business partners to assist them to run a successful business. To do that, LIU offers a very broad array of insurance products and services across the maritime industry.
"We put our resources to work for the client," Fitzgerald says, noting that with the severity of some of today's marine losses in the wake of the man-made disasters such as Gulf oil spill and the expected large number of hurricanes in 2010, marine coverage combined with value-added services is more critical than ever.
"From the head of risk engineering, to our claim and underwriting groups, we deliver what clients need to stay afloat, if you will," he says. That can mean risk management and engineering services prior to a claim, ways to maintain coverage for those who have had tough going or poor claim experience, or service after a claim.
Fitzgerald offers three specific examples of how LIU's Ocean Marine team gives clients the best possible service and help as part of their coverage:
One Fortune 500 global manufacturing company, a long-time LIU Ocean Marine client, had been enjoying a good, clean loss record. But then, something went very right and caused claim results to go very, very wrong. During a massive growth spurt--the company grew three times its size in a matter of months--risk controls fell short and they suffered some significant claim losses. LIU looked at the account and didn't jump ship. Instead, LIU took a long-term approach.
"We spent time with the client to develop method statements used to prepare and ship cargo more effectively, showing them a safer way to ship," says Steven Weiss, who leads risk engineering for LIU Ocean Marine. "We then helped the client roll out those method statements globally, so that various manufacturing areas used a proactive list of local service providers, marine surveyors, etc. Even as the client continued to grow, the result was significant positive development in these method statements and the loss ratio declined."
"By working very closely together, we found a new way to improve both service to their clients and their loss record, so they could continue to grow profitably," Weiss says. "We took a long-term approach and stuck with them."
LIU helped reduce a marine delay in a start-up claim under a Project Cargo policy, according to Alex Macarthy, leader of LIU Ocean Marine's claims team.
Macarthy explains that due to an increase in demand for energy, the client--one of the nation's largest electricity producers--commissioned a world-renowned power generation contractor and supplier to build an additional power generation unit at an existing plant.
Due to storm surge from a severe hurricane in 2008, a significant quantity of the project site equipment, destined for shipping to the project site, was damaged at the port awaiting the conveying ship. This resulted in a claim for damage to the cargo, as well as a claim for business interruption/consequential damage (which includes increased cost of working and loss of profit) as a result of a delay in the project completion date. Due to the loss, the estimated delay of the project's completion date was 10 months--a significant problem for the client.
Macarthy and his team got involved. Using a strategy based on effective management of all experts and consultants, together with fostering collaboration between the client and the project contractor, the original 10-month estimate was dramatically reduced to only four months.
"Of course, we had a shared interest with the client in completing the project with minimal delay," Macarthy says. "Working as partners, we achieved a very successful outcome reducing the delay mainly because of the effective claims strategies we employed--the most important of which was our primary focus on expediting the damaged equipment replacement time.
"Bringing together the experts, the client and the contractors as partners was the key," he says. "It was a tremendous success in everyone's eyes."
Finally, on the underwriting front, a port/terminal on the east coast had been non-renewed by its prior carrier. LIU Ocean Marine underwriters and risk engineers teamed up and met with the client and broker. Right away, the team conducted an LIU Quality Operator Review, which helped the underwriters determine that the client's risk profile fit LIU's risk appetite.
"We reviewed the best practices implemented by the client. Our technical experts agreed these practices would have a very positive impact on the client's operations. As a result, we could take a positive go forward view despite the client's loss record," says Fatih Ozdemir, LIU Ocean Marine's underwriting leader.
In the end, LIU underwrote the business and met the client's critical coverage deadline.
"In all three cases, we helped clients achieve business success using our understanding of the Marine business and our technical expertise," says Nigel Fitzgerald, adding that LIU's marine capabilities extend beyond the US to Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, UK, Europe, Canada, and Latin America.
"We have seen the severity of marine losses increasing in recent years, so buyers need to tread carefully when choosing a marine insurance partner," he adds. "Price alone should not be the reason to sign on the dotted line."
As further evidence that LIU Ocean Marine is setting the pace within the industry, Fitzgerald notes that Gordon McBurney, president and chief underwriting officer for LIU globally will deliver the keynote address - "In Deep Water: Systemic Risk and Insurance" - at the upcoming 45th Annual Houston Marine Insurance Seminar (www.houstonmarineseminar.com),
"Above all, we know that marine coverage comes down to much more than buying an insurance policy. We have the services and, most importantly, the track record to give our clients the best the business has to offer," Fitzgerald says.
Established in 1999, LIU (www.libertyiu.com) provides a diverse range of specialty products distributed exclusively through the independent broker network, and its staff of more than 600 professionals offers core products in many classes of business including: marine, energy, engineering, construction, casualty, professional liability and directors & officers insurance from its offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
For more information about LIU Marine, please contact Nigel Fitzgerald at email@example.com
(The above piece is part of our continuing Insights series designed to highlight key products and services to our readers. This paid-for Insights was written and edited by Risk & Insurance®
on behalf of our marketing partner. Additional Insights can be found on our Web site at www.riskandinsurance.com/.)
August 18, 2010
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