Standard Club and North P&I are set to merge in February of next year. The marriage would make the combined club — NorthStandard — the second wealthiest mutual protection and indemnity club with capital reserves of more than $800m. But what does it mean for Asia?
“The Standard Club and North both have a strong presence in both Singapore and Hong Kong and already represent two of the strongest clubs in those markets,” Standard Club Asia managing director David Roberts told TradeWinds.
“It is expected that a combination of the two could offer members a much wider range of products and services than before.
“Whilst it is anticipated that a combined club will deliver significant value to members if the merger is approved, at this stage it is too early to give details on the timings and details. Any integration will take place at a sensible pace and in the interests of members.”
Standard Club Asia has 29 members of staff in Singapore and employs 11 people in Hong Kong. The club recently promoted Robert Drummond, previously managing director for Ireland, as the group commercial director for the North Asia and Greater China regions.
Drummond, who will be based in Hong Kong, was head of Standard Asia between 2005 and 2010, and has been with the club for 37 years in senior roles.
Roberts said a key strength of Standard Asia is its tie-ups with non-members of the International Group of P&I Clubs such as China’s insurance group Ping An, Japan’s Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire (TMNF) and South Korea’s Korea P&I.
“The regional partnerships have always been important to us, and continue to be important,” Roberts said.
The cooperation with TMNF began in 1997. Today, the partnership underwrites 10% of P&I business in Japan.
To enhance the service, a new claims office was opened in Tokyo last year.
To further improve communications for its Asian members and brokers, Standard Club Asia has launched a Japanese hub within the club website and is developing a Chinese language hub.
The club is also setting up a social media platform to offer news, insights and guidance to Chinese members.
The Hong Kong office is described as doing more underwriting these days and, for the first time, it has recruited a marine surveyor and employed an additional underwriter to support its services with Chinese insurer Ping An.