Charles Taylor: On the acquisition trail

Charles Taylor: On the acquisition trail

London: David Marock, group CEO of insurance giant Charles Taylor is today’s Maritime CEO in a wide ranging interview in which he discusses the changing marine insurance sector, human resources issues and plans to grow in new directions via joint ventures.

Charles Taylor provides a wide range of services to the maritime industry. It provides end-to-end management services to four marine mutual insurance companies: The Standard Club which provides P&I insurance to around 10% of world shipping, Signal Mutual, the largest provider of longshore workers’ compensation insurance to the US maritime industry, with a market share of around 23%, the Strike Club, the only dedicated marine mutual insurer covering the running costs of vessels delayed by strikes, shore delays, collisions, groundings and other incidents outside an owner’s or charterer’s control and SCALA which provide workers’ compensation cover to the majority of Canada’s shipowners.

“In recent years the shipping industry has faced one of the most protracted downturns in its history, which has put shipowners and operators and their service suppliers under huge pressure,” says Marock. “At the same time,” he adds, “there has also been substantial downward pressure on insurance rates, which has triggered a wave of consolidation in all insurance markets, including the marine market.”

Marock also points out that the insurance industry has also had to respond to technological advances which have resulted in a shift to larger, more sophisticated ships and an increased emphasis towards using oil and gas as a fuel along with expanding environmental legislation which has increased the cost of pollution and wreck removal claims in particular.

Of concern for the marine insurance industry is where the next generation will come from, something Marock is very aware of.

“There has been much talk in the marine loss adjusting market of a skills shortage and demographic time bomb as senior, experienced loss adjusters reach retirement and leave the industry,” he says. Charles Taylor has responded by increasing its training and development of loss adjusters to bring through the next generation.

Last month Charles Taylor Charles Taylor partnered with private equity firm The Riverside Co to acquire a majority stake in the owner of insurance software services company Fadata.

“By entering into this joint venture, we will support the growth of Fadata’s software business globally and further expand our own technology capabilities and service offering for our insurance-related clients worldwide,” comments Marock on the latest acquisition. More are likely, he intimates.

“One element of our business strategy is to develop new professional services business lines through joint ventures or M&A opportunities. We are seeing an increased number and range of potential acquisition, joint venture and business investment opportunities, which we will evaluate to assess whether they will be a good fit with Charles Taylor strategically, culturally and financially,” he concludes.

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