By Andrew Rosenbaum, Senior Editor,
Insurance Insider (April 3 2001)

Clients demand greater underwriting consistency in the market over time.

Marine brokers are calling for improved claims
payments, more consistent underwriting and greater continuity from marine insurers and
reinsurance, according to an independent study commissioned by GE Frankona Re (UK).

Overall, however, respondents perceive that there has been
an improvement in the service they receive from marine insurers and reinsurers, with
improved financial security, claims settlement and underwriting expertise leading the way.
Respondents were asked to list eleven criteria in order of importance and to say whether
they had noticed an improvement or deterioration over the past five years (see chart
below). Interestingly, innovation, speedy quotes and competitive prices were the lowest priorities.

Other key findings:

  • Most respondents expect there to be fewer marine insurers and reinsurers;

  • Marine insurance and reinsurance is perceived to be a mature
    industry with few if any potential growth areas;

  • E-commerce is expected to make a significant impact on the
    way business is conducted;

  • Opinion is evenly divided on whether or not consolidation
    has been beneficial, with the advantages of improved security balanced by the
    disadvantages of reduced choice. The sample was equally unsure whether large re/insurers
    provided a more or less personal service.

The research was conducted in March 2001 by Simpson
Carpenter, as part of a much larger exercise by GE Frankona Re to achieve a better
understanding of brokers and cedents needs and requirements.

Trevor Carvey, head of ERC’s Marine Centre of
Excellence in London, said the findings showed that underwriters had to do more to meet
the expectations of clients: “This survey confirms the view that marine insurance and
reinsurance will remain intensely tough and competitive. As an industry we have to improve
our service and client focus. The findings on slow claims payment has to be seen as a wake
up call for the industry to improve on settlement processes.

Carvey continued: “Use of electronic
commerce will continue to increase as a means to reduce costs and improve customer
service. But there is no sign of it replacing face-to-face contact with brokers.”

For further information, contact:

Russell Fox +44 (0) 20 7617 6819
Ajay Gupta +44 (0) 20 7617 6843