Global network of expertise, local community in Rotterdam
Within the Rotterdam Maritime Services Community, maritime claims also happen. Then it is necessary for an expert to step in, to minimize further risk and help companies to regain business immediately. In a large port like Rotterdam, but also in the other ports, Sedgwick is a valued partner for the insurance industry.
We asked Ton Schox of RMSC member Sedgwick about the role of expertise companies and how he sees the benefits of the complete maritime cluster in Rotterdam.
Local networks are shaping the future of marine claims management
The way traditional marine claims teams are deployed is changing as loss adjusters learn the lessons of COVID-19 and from the way claims are serviced in other lines of business.
At a global level, the marine claims market experienced mixed fortunes throughout 2020. In terms of volume, overall claims were down between 15% and 20%. However, some countries saw a surge in claims as a result of COVID-19. For example, in the Netherlands, we saw an exceptionally high number of event cancellation claims, obviously in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. That was very specific to the Netherlands, however, as other countries do not cover event cancellation in marine policies.
The volume of exports from Asia (China) to Europe and America in the past few months has led to a shortage of shipping containers, as they are not being returned to their port of origin, having become stuck or at least delayed by an imbalance in trade between Asia and the rest of the world.
Notwithstanding COVID-19, other claims are still occurring, such as recent container casualties.1 It is not unusual for just one of these incidents to cause the loss of a significant amount of cargo, worth hundreds of millions of US dollars. Such incidents and the continued occurrence of claims during the pandemic and because of it demonstrate there will always be a need for experts who specialise in complex losses and who are able to still effectively manage claims that do occur.
During 2020, Ton states: We have had to rely much more heavily on our local surveyors and local networks. As countries have been implementing travel restrictions globally to thwart the spread of Covid-19. It is our opinion that in the future, underwriters and corporates will realise they do not need to be constantly sending experts all over the world. It is not only less expensive but also significantly more efficient to rely on a strong solid local network, which many operators are trying their best to develop.
It is not simply the need for a local network that is important, but also the need to access them quickly and efficiently. Here at Sedgwick we’ve been addressing this concern for some time and we invested in a dedicated app which allows our clients to access over 210 marine experts globally from their phone.
Automation and Digitalisation
There has been an overall trend for automation in the market generally. Covid-19 has brought this into sharp focus for many businesses, not least ours and that of our clients. Automation, solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI) and digitalisation have now been proven to offer opportunities rather than setting challenges to the market.
Remote surveying is an interesting example in that respect. It has become possible to use drones and mobile phones to provide remote surveys and work on large losses in some remote areas, when adjusters would normally visit a location in person. Indeed, drones help us to better access incident scenes located in areas that are too remote or difficult to access.
In a recent loss where the entire racking system had collapsed in a cold storage we could not safely access the location and special drones were deployed who could operate at temperatures below 20 Celsius. On basis of these recordings a safe salvage plan was made.
The future direction of marine loss handling is to work on a holistic claims management approach. At Sedgwick, we have begun to re-engineer the work of traditional marine teams and mirror the new needs of clients by learning lessons from the claims management process in other lines of business. This entails combining the resources of technology and the expertise of our marine and TPA specialists to offer clients a fully integrated, end-to-end service.
When asked about the specifics of Rotterdam, Ton is enthusiastic; Rotterdam is important for Sedgwick as many stakeholders are directly present in this city including brokers, underwriters, lawyers, traders and logistic service providers. All readily accessible. Rotterdam has always been a reservoir for training our marine surveyors as the port handles all kinds of different cargoes, ships, terminals and other logistic solutions. From Rotterdam we coordinate our Sedgwick global marine network and Rotterdam Maritime Services Community is a good connection to the local market.
 ‘One Apus’ – 1,999 containers
‘Maersk Essen’ – 750 containers and recently the
‘Maersk Eindhoven’- 260 containers lost overboard