Piracy protection insurance launches from West P&I Club
Marine insurance provider West P&I Club has launched a new product to provide cover for vessels entering a war and piracy ‘breach’ area, such as the Gulf of Aden or the Gulf of Guinea, where there is a heightened risk of vessels being seized.
It’s pithily called West Piracy Protection and is designed to help owners manage the threat of piracy in high-risk waters.
“West Piracy Protection responds to the realities of the evolving piracy threat faced by owners in such locations as the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea,” says Richard Turner, head of product development. “We have seen a pattern of incidents where a vessel is hijacked for just a few hours, meaning that current market wording on loss of hire may not be triggered, or ceases as soon as the vessel is released, with little regard for the knock-on consequences, which may include crew changes or vessel repairs.
“Our new product will stand out from the market, not just for the extended coverage but also the embedded expertise we can offer with Crisis24 and HFW. Through this new offering, we look forward to providing West members and other ship owners with the support to manage the ever-present threat of piracy.”
West says it will provide insurance protection for piracy events where the traditional war policy coverage does not respond adequately to indemnify clients for the typical seizure situations. This includes incidents when ships are sometimes held for just a few hours at a time.
Indemnities are provided for ransoms, including loss of transit of a ransom, and the costs of response consultants and legal experts, including reputational risk expenses. Expert support is provided for employees directly impacted by the seizure. Additional coverage is available for loss of hire related to a seizure, and for a maximum period of 14 days after release of the vessel.
This product has been developed in partnership with the Hamilton Global Specialty (Hamilton) underwriting platform written by Syndicate 4000 at Lloyds. Embedded emergency expertise is provided by Crisis24, one of the industry’s largest exclusively retained crisis response teams, and global law firm HFW, a specialist in the field of piracy response.
Mark Mathews, deputy head of underwriting (London) says: “We are excited to launch West Piracy Protection. We have worked closely with Hamilton to develop an innovative product that addresses a number of identified needs in the market where existing cover falls short. This new product enables West to offer a tailored piracy protection solution alongside our existing West War policy (launched in March 2023).”
Ship owners and operators can purchase West Piracy Protection as an extension to the West War policy, or as a product on a standalone basis. It is also available to non-West clients.
Piracy incidents have increased in recent years. A Swedish single-handed sailor was attacked by pirates off the coast of Colombia, before fighting them off with a hammer and emergency flares, he said recently.
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