Marine insurers urged to adapt amid rising uncertainties

Chairperson calls for a need to embrace innovation and a change in strategies

Marine insurers urged to adapt amid rising uncertainties


By Jonalyn Cueto

Speaking at the recent Marine Insurance London 2024 conference, Ilias Tsakiris (pictured), chair of the Ocean Hull Committee of the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI), emphasised the need for marine insurers to evolve their strategies to thrive in an increasingly uncertain global landscape. With the maritime industry facing challenges, including supply chain disruptions and a significant energy transition, Tsakiris called for a more dynamic, flexible, and contingency-based approach to insurance.

Highlighting the impacts of recent global events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Tsakiris noted the vulnerability of supply chains and the pressing need for the transportation sector to adopt “just-in-case” strategies over the “just-in-time” model.

“Our traditional trade routes are not safe anymore,” he stated, pointing out that the industry must prepare for challenges surpassing those experienced during the pandemic.

“The bottom line is that risks are abundant, and the transformation to the just-in-case model is the only option for companies, including insurers, seeking to operate in this environment,” he said.

Tsakiris also touched upon the shifting strategies of supply chain management, with companies increasingly adopting friendly-shoring, near-shoring, or re-shoring operations. These moves, he argued, have profound implications for global seaborne transportation and necessitate a reevaluation of risk management practices within the marine insurance sector.

Seeking a more sustainable path forward

Tsakiris also highlighted the need for insurers to be watchful of transitions as the shipping industry aligns with the goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Tsakiris advocated for innovative infrastructure and regulatory incentives to support this shift, which will undoubtedly affect operational logistics and cost structures.

Identifying a broad spectrum of risks, from cybersecurity threats to regulatory compliance challenges, Tsakiris called for a comprehensive approach that includes digital solutions, sustainable practices, and strategic diversification. The path forward, he noted, is a holistic approach integrating technological adeptness, client-centric innovation, and a proactive policy towards emerging needs and sustainability.

Emphasising the importance of adaptability, continuous learning, and cooperation, Tsakiris said, “In a world where established assumptions are being continuously challenged and new technological advances promise to revolutionise industries, standing still is not an option.”

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