Britannia is a Mutual Insurance Association of shipowners throughout the world, which is registered in the United Kingdom (see details at bottom of the page) and regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority.
The fundamental distinction between a Mutual and other types of insurance company is that a Mutual is not trying to make a profit, has no shareholders and exists purely for the benefit of its Members. The funds of the Mutual are invested and the investment return is used to benefit the Members. The Members are both the insurer and the insured. Mutual insurance is collective self-insurance which operates at cost.
A Committee, comprising up to 30 Directors - 28 elected from the membership - determines matters of policy on the advice of the Managers, Tindall Riley (Britannia) Limited to whom the day-to-day management of Britannia is delegated. The Chairman and Chief Executive of the Managers are members of the Committee.
Formation and Development
On May 1 1855, the day the UK Merchant Shipping Act 1854 came into force, the Shipowners' Mutual Protection Society commenced business in London as the first shipowners' Protection Association. Whilst the 1854 Act did provide shipowners, for the first time, with a measure of limitation of liability for loss of life and personal injury - it stipulated that the value of the ship for limitation purposes should be assessed at not less than £15 per ton - many ships in fact had a lower value and the shipowner's liabilities potentially exceeded the value of his ship. It was such liabilities, not covered by the conventional marine market, which the Protection Society met.
The Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association was formed in 1871 as a mutual insurance association for steamships with Classes 1 and 2 covering hull and machinery risks and freight risks respectively. Five years later Class 3 of Britannia took over the protection risks which had until then been covered by the Shipowners' Mutual Protection Society. The first two Classes were subsequently wound up but Class 3 has continued to the present day to cover the liability risks of shipowners. In 1886 Britannia became a Protection & Indemnity (P&I) Club by treating cargo or 'indemnity' risks separately from the other 'protection' risks. Over succeeding years cover was widened to meet the increasing liabilities of shipowners.
In 1899 Britannia joined five other P&I Clubs in a Pooling Agreement to share the cost of exceptionally large claims. Today thirteen Clubs are parties to the Agreement. Together they cover over 90% of the world's merchant fleet and form the core of the International Group of P&I Clubs.
Since its inception the cover provided by the Association has developed to meet the needs of different types of ships and to respond to the impact of new legislation and regulations around the world. For example, cover was expanded to include new oil pollution liabilities under the 1969 Civil Liability Convention which followed the 1967 Torrey Canyon disaster. Oil pollution has since become an increasingly high profile risk. Nevertheless, traditional risks involving loss of life, personal injury, collisions, property damage and cargo claims still account for much the greater part of the cost of claims insured by Britannia.
While Class 3 (P&I) is by far the largest area of Britannia's business, it also conducts insurance business through Class 6 (Freight, Demurrage and Defence - legal expenses insurance).
Britannia has grown substantially in the last 50 years. In 1960 the gross tonnage entered in the Association was 3 million. By 1970 it had reached 10 million and by 1980 had quadrupled to 40 million. Britannia now insures approximately 138 million tons of owned and chartered tonnage and is one of the largest P&I Clubs, accounting for over 10% of the world merchant fleet, with many of the world's best-known shipowners as Members.
Service, Strength and Quality
Britannia is determined to maintain a position at the forefront of the P&I insurance world. The principal factors which have governed its successful progress and which will provide the foundation for its future development are:
In summary, the objective is to provide a strong membership with high quality service at low cost.
The Managers of Britannia are Tindall Riley (Britannia) Limited. Tindall Riley have managed Britannia and its forerunner association since inception in 1855. Today a staff of approximately 130 is involved in underwriting, claims handling, risk management and administration. In addition, much time is spent in assisting Members to respond to developments in laws and regulations throughout the world. Investments are managed by independent professional investment managers with whom the Managers maintain a close liaison.
The Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association Limited is registered in England, with number 10340. The registered address of the Association is;
Regis House, 45 King William Street, London, EC4R 9AN
Telephone: +44 20 7407 3588
Fax: +44 20 7403 3942