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        Tanker reinsurance ban narrows Russia's options


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        The EU's ban on marine insurance for tankers carrying Russian oil exports could limit options for insuring vessels outside the bloc as it also covers the reinsurance market. There will be fewer options still if, as expected, the UK follows the EU's lead.

        In theory, Russia could export oil like Iran, using sanctioned vessels insured outside the EU and UK but options for doing so could be limited. Most insurers globally, even those outside of the EU, use the London and European reinsurance markets, with a significant portion of the business being conducted in the EU and UK. Insurers underwriting policies use the reinsurance market to spread risk.

        The International Group of Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Clubs — mutual insurance associations that provide risk pooling — has 13 members that cover 90pc of the world's fleet and most of these use European reinsurance markets. Lloyds of London is the traditional source but Munich Re and Swiss Re are also active.

        Countries currently trading with Russia have considered creating localised insurers that provide insurance outside of the EU's jurisdiction in currencies other than the US dollar. But even these localised insurers would still have to rely on the reinsurance market to hedge their risk, something the EU ban might make impossible.

        The latest sanctions impose an immediate prohibition on EU operators and entities providing any new insurance or finance contracts for maritime transport of Russian oil to third countries. For existing contracts, the European Council has included a wind-down period of six months until 5 December 2022 for closing out any existing contracts executed before 4 June 2022.

        "There are still many unanswered questions about reporting obligations — such as who is required to report, and to which country do you report if there are multiple EU countries/nationals involved," according to global law firm ReedSmith. "Those questions still need to be resolved."

        By Sheel Bhattacharjee and John Ollett

        In theory, Russia could export oil like Iran, using sanctioned vessels insured outside the EU and UK but options for doing so could be limited. Most insurers globally, even those outside of the EU, use the London and European reinsurance markets, with a significant portion of the business being conducted in the EU and UK. Insurers underwriting policies use the reinsurance market to spread risk.

        The International Group of Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Clubs — mutual insurance associations that provide risk pooling — has 13 members that cover 90pc of the world's fleet and most of these use European reinsurance markets. Lloyds of London is the traditional source but Munich Re and Swiss Re are also active.

        Countries currently trading with Russia have considered creating localised insurers that provide insurance outside of the EU's jurisdiction in currencies other than the US dollar. But even these localised insurers would still have to rely on the reinsurance market to hedge their risk, something the EU ban might make impossible.

        The latest sanctions impose an immediate prohibition on EU operators and entities providing any new insurance or finance contracts for maritime transport of Russian oil to third countries. For existing contracts, the European Council has included a wind-down period of six months until 5 December 2022 for closing out any existing contracts executed before 4 June 2022.

        "There are still many unanswered questions about reporting obligations — such as who is required to report, and to which country do you report if there are multiple EU countries/nationals involved," according to global law firm ReedSmith. "Those questions still need to be resolved."

        By Sheel Bhattacharjee and John Ollett

        Source: Argus Media