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Polar waters standards for marine re/insurance underwriters released

29th December 2016 - Author: Steve Evans

A new set of industry standards have been launched for marine insurance and reinsurance underwriters offering “critical risk mitigation directives and support” to those writing marine risks in the polar waters of the Arctic or Antarctic.

POLARIS, an initiative led by London-based lawyer Michael Kingston, a representative of the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on Polar matters; Lloyd’s, in conjunction with the Nordic Association of Marine Insurers (CEFOR), IUMI; and Lloyd’s Register, with assistance from the Arctic and Antarctic States, has set up a single ice regime system (POLARIS), through which it aims to provide guidance for potential scenarios that could occur when operating a ship in Polar waters, for use in pre-planning and during actual operations.

Michael Kingston commented; “Lloyd’s and Lloyd’s Register have helped improve significant international regulation for the protection of seafarers, the environment and the indigenous peoples of the Polar Regions. This is an example of what we can achieve when we work together in industry and with governments and international regulators. It is also a demonstration of the importance of the maritime strength of the City of London.”

The Polar Code, negotiated at the UN IMO and a binding international framework for protecting the polar regions from maritime risks, is a code of practice for ships operating in the Arctic and Antarctic. It comes into force on 1st January 2017 and the release of POLARIS is intended to help insurance and reinsurance underwriters with the new standards regime.

Lloyd’s head of innovation, Trevor Maynard, said; “The Polar Code is a game-changer for a number of reasons: it improves the safety of seafarers; it encourages a safer approach to operating in important wilderness areas; and it helps protect the living environments of indigenous peoples.”

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Tom Boardley, Lloyd’s Register’s executive vice president and global head of corporate and external affairs, added; “The Polar Code brings a well-needed baseline of international requirements for shipping in all Polar Regions and is different to most existing regulation because it is, in part, goal-based rather than prescriptive. LR can also assist operators navigate their way to compliance with an interactive toolkit developed with a wealth of Arctic expertise.”

The POLARIS industry standards will help marine insurance and reinsurance underwriters to understand the new Polar Code and how this affects underwriting decisions for marine vessels and assets set to operate in the Arctic and Antarctic.

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