LONDON’s insurance market can add a new feather to its cap – after coming together to facilitate a high-risk operation to prevent a stranded ship causing a potentially catastrophic oil spill.
Insurance giant Howden was appointed by the UN’s Development Programme to arrange cover for a procedure that will see more than a million barrels-worth of oil transferred from the FSO Safer, which has been moored off Yemen for eight years and is now at risk of breaking up. Conflict in Yemen has prevented basic maintenance of the vessel, holding four times as much oil as the Exxon Valdez.
Thirteen different entities are underwriting the operation, with more than a hundred individual underwriters involved in assessing and pricing what Howden called an ‘exceptionally specialised’ set of policies.
Achim Steiner, the administrator of the UN’s Development Programme, said that without insurance the project could not have gone ahead – risking an ecological disaster.
David Howden, Howden CEO, said the coverage was the “perfect example of the power of insurance” and John Neal, boss of insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London, said “it’s encouraging to see the knowledge and expertise held in the Lloyd’s market being used to protect what matters most – in this case, our natural environment and the economic activities our world relies on.”