OCEAN MARINE: SAILING WITH THE TIDES OF OPPORTUNITY|
From The Visiting Fireman, Vol. 3, No. 8, pages 1, 4, 6, April 14, 1969.
A few miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, workers ease a number of cigar-shaped containers onto trucks for a trip to J. F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. The cargo, nuclear fuel - final destination, Switzerland - the insurer, our Atlantic Marine Department.
A rather unusual, if not radioactive risk for marine underwriting? Not at all. Coverage of things out-of-the-ordinary is commonplace for our Ocean Marine organization - even if the insured is located hundreds of miles inland, says Russell Pierce, vice president of nationwide Ocean Marine operations.
"In addition to insuring all types of commercial and pleasure craft for 104 years," Pierce added, "our company has long been an innovator in protecting cargoes in transit from shipper to receiver. So it's a natural move for us to expand into growing opportunities of air freight, such as coverage of airborne radioactive cargo and nuclear equipment."
Ranking fourth nationally in premium volume, our Ocean Marine Department is one of the most experienced in the nation. The 13 staff members from offices nationwide who attended the recent Silverado Ocean Marine Conference represented well over 300 years of collective underwriting experience.
Complete underwriting services are offered regionally by the Atlantic Marine Department in New York and the Pacific Marine Department in San Francisco.
A Southern California Area Office is located in Los Angeles, a Central Area Office in Chicago, and a Southwest Area Office in Houston. Branch office operations are maintained in Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, Boston, Cleveland and Jacksonville. The goal of these widespread services, according to Pierce, is to assure that no matter where a customer does business, one of our ocean marine experts is not far away.
Pierce talked of technological progress in ocean transportation and automation of cargo handling, advances which offer new and challenging underwriting opportunities. Today, Fireman's Fund insures wide ranging interests of this type and others which represent insured values that would have seemed phenomenal just a decade ago.
Take the new mammoth class oil tankers, for example. A super tanker, such as the "Universe Ireland," has an insured value of $25 million. Yet, this sounds like a modest amount when you consider that the Cunard Line's new luxury liner Queen Elizabeth II is valued at $72 million.
We do not underwrite the entire value of these ships but participate with other companies as a member of the American Hull Insurance Syndicate. In this way, Fireman's Fund offers hull insurance capacity to ship owners worldwide.
Speaking of other new interests to insure, Pierce described the oceanography field with its diving saucers and research subs, and the offshore drilling ventures which require high valued platforms and drilling rigs. On the horizon - swift undersea freighters and giant new cargo aircraft.
Although we pride ourselves on maintaining flexibility to handle the unusual, Pierce said, most of our risks are not quite so exotic as the oceanographer's undersea saucer. Turning to the basic ocean marine book of business, Pierce described a recent underwriting operation which demonstrates our ability to tackle unusual circumstances affecting a basically conventional risk. Eastern seaboard dock strikes forced one of our major domestic accounts to bypass American ports and to transport $10 million in cargo to a Canadian port for shipment overseas, an amount unheard of in normal times.
We must also compete on an international basis, since Fireman's Fund-insured cargoes involve shipments to and from most countries of the world. Hulls written directly by us are not restricted to American waters, but may ply the high seas to every port of call on the globe. Through AFIA, an organization which maintains more than 200 branch offices in 80 foreign countries, we have overseas representation to service our accounts.
Ocean marine activity was profitable in 1968. Net premiums written were $21,788,000 and resulted in an underwriting trade profit of 4.0 percent. Ocean marine results contributed to the overall 16.4 percent increase in premium income of our property casualty companies in 1968... a record volume of new business. The department's activity reflected strong showings in major segments of marine underwriting, ocean-going hulls, inland waterway hulls, and cargo.
Our underwriters are looking with optimism toward the remainder of 1969, Pierce said, and added that special efforts are being made by the department to assure continued growth throughout the nation and overseas.
[Fireman's Fund Archives: 4-1-3-5-30; 1335]
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