S&P Global Ratings has upgraded its outlook for Norwegian marine insurer Gard from A+ negative to A+ stable.

The change comes following an improvement in its underwriting results in the second half of the policy year ending in 20 February 2022.

“The stable outlook indicates that we expect marine insurer Gard to record at least break-even underwriting results over the next two years and generate earnings of over $50m,” S&P said.

The influential ratings agency said it expects Gard to continue to outperform its rivals in the International Group of P&I Clubs.

Only 18 months ago, S&P downgraded Gard’s outlook to negative based on its underwriting losses.

A series of high-cost pool claims, which are shared among International Group members, and the impact of Covid-19 related claims pushed all the mutual P&I clubs into an underwriting loss last year.

Gard is by far the largest of the P&I clubs and the only mutual with an A+ rating.

S&P said the improvement in underwriting performance will enable Gard to keep ahead of the competition.

Gard’s P&I income is also supplemented by income from its hull and machinery insurance business.

“The stable outlook indicates that we expect the club to retain its pre-eminent position in the P&I and marine sectors over the next two years,” S&P said. “It will demonstrate this by outperforming its P&I peers in terms of underwriting performance.”

The North P&I Club and the Standard Club are now in discussions to merge their business to create a P&I mutual — NorthStandard — of similar size to Gard.