Marine insurers benefited from higher premiums and a lower loss ratio last year, according the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI).

The latest figures, announced at the opening of the IUMI conference in Edinburgh, showed premium income across all business lines increased by 8.3% to $35.8bn in 2022, with cargo accounting for 57.3% of the total.

The vice chair of IUMI’s Facts & Figures Committee, Astrid Seltmann, said a post-pandemic rebound and continued low claims have improved market fundamentals and put insurers in a better place.

“Marine underwriters have suffered poor returns over several years, but from 2020 results started to improve. 2021 and particularly 2022 have shown relatively strong growth in the global premium base across all lines of business,” she said.

“In combination with a benign claims impact, this has translated into a much better performance in terms of loss ratios, specifically for hull and cargo.”

Cargo premium increased by 8.3% last year and income was buoyed by greater trade volumes.

Hull premium rose by 5.7% to $8.4bn. While claims dipped during the pandemic, there has been a recent uptick, according to IUMI.

Insurance valuations have also been strongly influenced by the changing market conditions. Container ship values have recently fallen significantly following a slump in the market.

“The overall results from our 2022 analysis do appear to indicate positive growth, which is welcomed after a prolonged period of poor returns,” said Jun Lin, chair of the Facts & Figures Committee.

However, he cautioned that negative factors are influencing the market, such as inflation, the increased cost of capital to the insurance markets because of higher interest rates and setbacks for the Chinese economy.

“We shouldn’t lose sight of future challenges that are likely to inject a degree of uncertainty into all our lines of business. Asset prices continue to rise and inflationary pressure will only add to the value of claims,” he said.