Willis Unit Launches Piracy Prevention, Management Coverage Plan

March 4, 2009

Willis announced that its London-based Special Contingency Risks Limited (SCR) unit, a division of Faber & Dumas, the third-party wholesale insurance broker, and Underwater Security Consultants Limited trading as Maritime & Underwater Security Consultants (MUSC), a leading maritime risks advisor, have launched “Vessel Shield™, a comprehensive package of services geared towards risk prevention and management in connection with acts of piracy.”

The two companies developed the coverage jointly. It “offers insurance and risk management solutions to what is increasingly becoming a gray area in the marine industry relating to payment of ransoms and management of a hijack situation,” said the bulletin.

“Last year, there were a total of 155 pirate attacks or hijackings in Somalian waters, particularly in the Gulf of Aden, according to the International Maritime Bureau,” it continued. “In the first two months of this year, MUSC has received reports of more than 30 attacks in the same region.

“This outbreak of high-profile piracy has reignited the debate over the extent of cover for such events. A lack of clarity in the marine market has meant that coverage responsibility is being called into question.

Doug Milne, CEO of SCR posited the following questions: “When an act of piracy occurs, who is responsible for paying the claim? Is it the vessel’s hull or war risk insurer, or the provider of kidnap & ransom cover?” He then noted that the “Vessel Shield package addresses this coverage dilemma by offering an insurance product which clearly provides primary cover for acts of piracy, but also seeks to mitigate the physical security risk as well.

“Security of vessels from acts of piracy in dangerous waters requires a co-ordinated approach,” Milne added. “The preparation, training and advice offered as part of the package of services comprised within Vessel Shield provides a targeted answer to a marine industry problem that will go a long way to enhance the safety and peace of mind of all those looking to protect their vessels and cargoes.”

The bulletin described Vessel Shield as offering “ship owners a focused and integrated solution to the problems associated with piracy, providing expert advice and assistance before and during a transit through dangerous waters, and, should a piracy event occur, seamless support to resolve the situation.

It is based on a “three-phase risk philosophy,” as follows:
— Risk Reduction through expert marine security consultancy advice to vessel owners, ship masters and crew covering both single transit and fleet requirements
— Risk Transfer through comprehensive hijack insurance cover
— Risk Mitigation through a team of crisis negotiators to manage all phases of a hijack event.

“These combined elements deliver a specific package aimed at significantly reducing the piracy and hijacking risk faced by ship owners. SCR and MUSC will each be responsible for delivering different and distinct elements of the Vessel Shield services.”

MUSC’s Chief Executive Chris Austen noted: “MUSC is delighted to lend our expertise to this world-class solution, which combines the best marine security insurance and crisis management expertise available in the market today into one comprehensive package. We are confident that Vessel Shield will become an essential safeguard for ship owners the world over.”

Source: Willis Group Holdings – www.willis.com

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