Protection and indemnity insurers are leading the way in providing online data-led intelligence to shipowners as a way of adding value to insurance services.
The main providers of data intelligence to the P&I clubs include the likes of Windward, Concirrus and Geollect, which cover around 10 of the 13 members of the International Group of P&I Clubs.
Utilising a range of data and artificial intelligence techniques, the clubs are now providing online portals through which members can access a wide variety of intelligence. This ranges from sanctions to piracy and other potential global and local security and risk factors.
Typical of such services are North P&I's MyGlobalView, Swedish Club's Trade Enabling Loss Prevention Platform (Telp) and West of England P&I's Neptune.
Nick Maddalena, chief commercial officer at Geollect, said the P&I clubs are increasingly recognising the value of such services and seeking to develop more sophisticated products.
"They allow the membership to pinpoint any place on earth and derive a real-time risk and threats report. They are tailor-made for each club depending on what insights those clubs want to provide for their members," he said.
Maddalena said that the clubs started to expand these services in part to bring added value to members.
"What is really interesting is that the clubs within the International Group have really embraced data analytics over the last three or four years, and the application of data science to fully explore the data that is out there is the world, much more so than any other insurers," he said.
Pressure on P&I clubs
But the move also has been partly motivated by pressure applied to the P&I clubs by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac), in its policing of sanctions. This has encouraged them to provide more critical sanctions compliance data to their members.
Hull and machinery insurance providers have not been pressured by Ofac in the same way as P&I clubs and have not been so eager to develop sanctions intelligence information for shipowners.
"There is still a debate in the commercial hull market as to whether they are responsible (for sanctions). The fact is that the International Group members have taken on the responsibility because they have been pinpointed by Ofac since the early days of the advisories.
"My suspicion is that the commercial hull market sees the P&I clubs as having taken on the responsibility of monitoring of world shipping and, therefore, it has been taken care of. Whether that is reflected in Ofac's opinion in uncertain," Maddalena said.
He said what is appealing to the clubs about the provision of data services is that they can be tailor-made to the needs of the shipowner membership, or deeper investigation can be carried out by the data companies at the request of the shipowners.
"The product development we are working with the clubs with is very significant, as their desire to know more increases so does the breadth of what can be delivered," Maddalena said.