Shipowners Hafnia and Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Skipsrederi (KGJS) have taken part in a $1m seed funding round by maritime insurance start-up Vanguard.

Other investors in the strategic fundraise include Singapore consortium-driven venture capital fund Motion Ventures and Portuguese shipowner Portline.

UK-based Vanguard describes itself as an upcoming platform designed to “streamline how underwriters, brokers and shipping clients interact from start to finish”.

By automating processes from the initial introduction of a broker to a shipping client all the way through to the underwriter’s final decision, the company intends to “eliminate inefficiencies and reduce the insurance risk involved with using different technologies”.

It has also entered a strategic partnership with insurance brokerage and risk management services company Gallagher, which will provide its maritime clients with access to the platform, enabling them to “better manage their risk exposures”.

Vanguard claims its technology has already helped “one of the industry’s largest shipping operators discount their existing war insurance premiums by over 50%”.

Co-founder and investor Kfir Magen said: “Our holistic marine insurance platform is designed to bridge the gap between vessel operators and marine underwriters, so vessels can not only navigate the waters with greater safety but also navigate the economics of insurance fairly.

“This is about redefining the life cycle of maritime operations and securing a future where technology and safety lead to tangible rewards.”

Magen, who has spent his career in vessel operations, said he witnessed first-hand the “disconnect” between technology adoption on vessels and the insurance premiums ships were being charged.

“Despite integrating cutting-edge technologies to make vessels smarter and safer, premiums remained unchanged as underwriters didn’t have the right tools and models to reflect that risk reduction,” he said.

Vanguard was part of Hafnia-led tech accelerator Studio 30 50’s first cohort sprint, a sort of crash course for start-ups, in which they were introduced to seasoned maritime and shipping investors, and could learn the dynamics of shipping technologies, and how to scale and better approach their investment efforts.

Shanker Pillai, head of Studio 30 50, said: “Vanguard’s platform is set to define a new standard for maritime insurance, where efficiency, safety and cost reduction converge through technology, reshaping the industry in a significant and lasting way.”

Vanguard said it plans to leverage big data to enhance its risk models, improve the accuracy of risk assessments and “showcase to insurers the reduced risk associated with smarter, technology-equipped vessels”.