The $163m deal by Norway’s Gard to buy specialist Danish offshore insurer Codan rebuilds an energy portfolio to better cope with global market shocks, chief executive Rolf Thore Roppestad said on Monday.

The deal places Gard at the front ranks of offshore wind energy insurers in Europe as geopolitical crises and protectionism present a “major worry and challenge” for the maritime insurance sector, Roppestad told TradeWinds.

A deal struck in 2003 to take over the marine and energy business of the Scandinavian insurance group If underpinned Arendal-based Gard’s rise to the top of the 12-strong International Group of P&I Clubs.

Since then, the diversified insurer’s protection and indemnity and hull and machinery sectors have motored ahead while the energy interests have been left lagging — a move that Roppestad said has been corrected by the Codan deal.

“What we are doing today is bringing the energy business back where it once was,” he said of the deal that adds 15% to Gard’s $1.1bn gross written premiums.

“Due to the situation in the oil and gas markets, the energy business has not grown at the same speed as marine and P&I. With this acquisition, we bring energy back as a true diversifier in the Gard portfolio.”

As a diversified marine insurer, bad years in P&I can be offset by other sectors and its approach has been followed by other clubs with mixed results. Some clubs have opted to focus on dedicated P&I services for its member-owners.

Roppestad played down the prospect of further deals after Gard reported the second-best results in its 117-year history and boosted its coffers. “I believe more in organic growth than acquisitions,” he said.

That included within the P&I sector, where the merger of North P&I Club and Standard Club last year created a club of similar scale to Gard.

Roppestad told TradeWinds that he was happy with Gard’s market share among the International Group and would not drive further consolidation within the group.

And he said that Gard is not looking for increased growth outside of its core marine and energy markets.

“We will not go into something completely different from what we are doing today,” he said.

“That is not what we believe in. We believe in doing more of what we’re already quite good at.”

The cost of the Codan deal represents 70% of the $236m profits made by Gard last year.

Even after the NorthStandard merger, Gard is the biggest of the P&I clubs, with 20% market share amounting to 279m gt across shipping sectors, according to its 2023 annual report.

Its hull and machinery cover accounts for 130m gt. Its marine and energy sector captured an 8% market share before the Codan deal.

Roppestad said protectionism and potential trade wars were a worry for global industries like maritime and insurance.

The Codan deal is a potential bulwark against those forces with a portfolio focused on northern Europe where the “political risk is certainly quite low”, said Roppestad.

Codan is part of financial services group Alm. Brand, which insures more than 60% of the world’s offshore wind farms including off Europe, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.