1. Executive Brief: Current State of the Marine Insurance Industry

    Executive Brief: Current State of the Marine Insurance Industry


    In the dynamic landscape of marine insurance, 2024 is marked by a confluence of challenges and opportunities. Here we are amid an unprecedented situation that could well evolve into the largest loss the marine insurance market has ever seen. As trusted consultants in the industry, we are at the forefront of navigating these shifts, offering risk mitigation insights and claim resolution solutions to insurers. Drawing from our expertise and the latest industry trends, this executive brief provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the marine insurance industry.

    Market Realities and Rate Predictions

    Risk has become the “new normal” for the global ocean shipping industry, handling 80% of global trade — amidst mounting pressure from geopolitical tensions, rising protectionism, climate change, and now, the tragic and catastrophic incident involving the DALI container vessel striking the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. You can view our full industry report on CESAM on vessels, damage and implications, or download the PDF here.

    The collapse of this critical bridge, shutting down most of the Port of Baltimore (essential for shipping traffic on the US East Coast) has sent shockwaves through the industry. The Baltimore port, ranking as the 17th biggest in the nation overall in 2021 according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, serves as a crucial hub for global trade. Notably, it stands as the 5th largest on the East Coast, facilitating the movement of automobiles, light trucks, and vessels carrying wheeled cargo such as farm and construction machinery, and for exporting coal.

    Insurance payouts for this incident alone could be among the largest ever in marine insurance, potentially exceeding billions of dollars. It’s a stark reminder of the immense risks faced by insurers in today’s volatile environment.

    The industry continues to face unprecedented challenges, with former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warning of global dangers not seen since the end of World War II. The ocean shipping industry is experiencing the highest degree of risk in the past 25 years, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.[1]

    Considering these risks, insurers must adopt a proactive stance, leveraging advanced analytics and risk management strategies to navigate the complex geopolitical landscape. At EIMC, we advocate for a balanced approach, emphasizing the importance of thorough risk assessment and prudent premium adjustments to ensure the long-term sustainability of marine insurance portfolios.

    Underwriting Environment and Key Trends

    The underwriting environment in 2024 remains demanding, characterized by heightened scrutiny and evolving risk dynamics. Insurers face pressure to address claim inflation, rising raw material costs, and geopolitical uncertainties, necessitating premium adjustments and strategic portfolio management. [2]

    In response to these challenges, insurers must also enhance underwriting precision and resilience through collaboration, innovation, and technology adoption. Data-driven decision-making and strategic partnerships will help to optimize risk outcomes and drive sustainable growth.

    Trends and Innovations in Marine Insurance

    Technological innovations continue to reshape the marine insurance sector, with a focus on enhancing efficiency and transparency. Blockchain, IoT, and data analytics are revolutionizing claims processing, risk monitoring, and predictive analysis, empowering insurers to improve operational efficiency and mitigate emerging risks. [3]

    We recognize the transformative potential of technology in marine insurance. By harnessing these innovations, insurers can enhance customer experiences, streamline underwriting processes, and strengthen risk management capabilities. We encourage insurers to embrace innovation as a catalyst for competitive differentiation and long-term success.

    Proactive Risk Mitigation

    In our recent White Paper, “Proactive Risk Mitigation for Inventory in Storage and Cargo in Transit,” we explore the intricacies of safeguarding valuable cargo from theft, damage, and unforeseen challenges. Our comprehensive analysis covers:

    • Protecting Inventory at Rest: Explore proactive risk assessment strategies for warehouses to identify vulnerabilities and inefficiencies and offer actionable solutions to safeguard assets.
    • Smart Warehousing Practices: Discover best practices, from physical protection measures like security alarms to environmental controls such as humidity monitoring, ensuring stored inventory remains secure.
    • Protecting Cargo in Transit: This section covers the four-point proactive assessment for cargo during marine transit, including preloading processes, lifting and handling, lashing and securing, and towing vessels, barges, and equipment.
    • Best Practices for Cargo Transit: Uncover essential considerations, from equipment condition and workforce integrity to security practices and meticulous stowage and transport inspections.

    Focusing on what you can control is a viable and recommended best practice during times of supply chain uncertainty. Anticipate, mitigate, and ensure the safe storage and delivery of your goods without avoidable losses. Don’t just hope for the best; plan for it. Download our White Paper to access full insights.

    Future Outlook

    As the industry navigates geopolitical uncertainties and climate change-related risks, insurers must remain agile and resilient to thrive in the evolving landscape.

    As trusted advisors to insurers, EIMC remains committed to navigating the evolving marine insurance landscape. Through thought leadership initiatives, strategic partnerships across the globe, and tailored solutions, we empower insurers to navigate risks effectively and capitalize on emerging opportunities for sustainable value creation.

    For further insights and industry updates, consult with EIMC’s team of experts for customized solutions tailored to your unique needs. Contact us today!

    Cited Sources:

    [1] Risk reigns in ocean shipping, industry and economic experts say (Reuters, 2024)

    [2] NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. (2022). U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2022). Retrieved from

    [3] Marine Insurance Global Market Report 2024.