Shipowner members of the North P&I Club and Standard Club have voted to approve the merger of the two mutuals.

Management of both clubs said members “resoundingly” backed a proposal to form a new protection and indemnity giant.

The merged club, to be called NorthStandard, will be the sector’s second-largest P&I club, with a combined income of more than $750m annually.

It will be led jointly by North P&I chief executive Paul Jennings and Standard Club chief executive Jeremy Grose.

The clubs will seek regulatory approval in the autumn ahead of the scheduled formal completion of the merger in February 2023.

Grose said: “NorthStandard will be a major new force in marine insurance, delivering the resilience members need from their P&I partners to meet the challenges and competitive landscape of a changing shipping world.

“We are delighted that our proposal has received such strong backing from the members of both clubs.”

Jennings said: “Members welcomed the proposal on the grounds that it would reinforce stability and strengthen competition in the P&I sector and encourage innovation and drive further product diversification.

“A larger organisation will also attract and retain even more of the best talent to ensure that NorthStandard delivers the highest levels of service and support for members.”

Industry leader Gard has told TradeWinds that it welcomes the competition the merger would bring.

But brokers have warned there could be consequences for the P&I industry, as the move is likely to trigger further consolidation. Currently, 13 members of the International Group of P&I clubs provide cover to more than 90% of the world fleet.

Shipowners have also told TradeWinds they are concerned that the merger will limit competition and choice in the market.

There is also a question over whether those members of North P&I and the Standard Club that did not approve of the merger will be allowed to move to other clubs without financial penalty.