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Chinese hull market overtakes Lloyd’s

Development is natural corollary of country’s growing share of the world fleet, says International Union of Marine Insurance head

Lloyd’s, for centuries the world’s dominant marine insurer, continues to witness sharp decline in premium volumes as lines on graph now cross with Asian economic giant

CHINA is now the world’s second-largest provider of hull insurance, after overtaking Lloyd’s on market share, the International Union of Marine Insurance has confirmed.

The country — which has seen its slice of the pie grow slowly but steadily in recent years — recorded a 12.4% share of 2020 global aggregate hull premiums totalling $7.1bn.

It now sits second in the league table behind the Nordic region on 14%, and well ahead of Lloyd’s, at number three on 8.6%.

The development was revealed at the facts and figures workshop of the IUMI conference this morning, which is being held virtually on account of the pandemic.



The outcome marks a further erosion of more than three centuries of dominance for Lloyd’s, which for a long historical period after its inception in 1686 provided hull cover for the vast majority of the world fleet.

Lloyd’s briefly fell from the top slot for the first time ever in the wake of the global financial crisis, but soon regained its position.

The turnaround came dramatically in 2019, following a crackdown on underperformers including many marine syndicates, with Lloyd’s falling from first to third, behind the Nordic market and Singapore.

IUMI has since restated the figures to reflect double counting problems, which have overstated Singapore’s position for some time. On the adjusted figures, China would have come in second even last year.

While Lloyd’s market share no longer hits double digits, it is still ahead of Japan on 7.8% and the London company market on 6.8%.



What appears to have happened is a sharp drop in Lloyd’s premium volumes over the last five years, with premiums falling from around $1.2bn to $600m.

The silver lining for the UK capital is that Lloyd’s and the company market together still command the highest market share of any single geographical location.

Lars Lange, general secretary of IUMI, said that the development was quite natural in light of the increasing percentage of the world fleet owned by China and by Asia more broadly.

“The rise of hull premium share is the natural consequence. And we see the same trends for the cargo premium, where China provides the largest premium share. We see a large market unfolding its potential with steady growth.”

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