New generations are upholding the finest traditions of expert service to the global marine insurance market, speakers at the 2017 annual dinner of the Association of Average Adjusters declared.
They praised the Association for nurturing an education programme that has enabled an increasing number of younger members, through rigorous study and practical work, to join the top levels of the claims profession.
The consensus at the London dinner was that the Association, fortified by the wisdom attained through its 148-year history and buoyed by its success in meeting the contemporary challenges, is on a trajectory ensuring its contribution to the marine market would remain strong and of value for years to come.
A total of 254 adjusters, underwriters, insurance brokers, members of the legal profession and representatives of the London and international maritime industry, dined in the magnificent setting of the Lancaster Ballroom of the Savoy Hotel. Guests came from near and far and included marine specialists from Continental Europe, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region, and North and South America.
Following the loyal toast, proposed by the 2016-17 chairman of the Association, Keith Martin, the gathering was regaled by a series of addresses primarily recognising the standing of the Association and enlivened by after-dinner quips.
Jeremy Hubbuck, who is an Associate of the Association, proposed a toast to the Bench and the legal profession, many distinguished representatives of which were present.
Mr Hubbuck noted that many businesses survived on wafer-thin margins, but the Association provided a sound and stable environment. The Association had made great strides in encouraging new members, and he praised its management committee for organising the annual dinner, and dealing with membership and training matters and other administrative tasks.
He thanked the Association secretary, Ann Waite, for her co-ordinating support, and chairman Keith Martin for encouraging preparatory work for the Association’s 150th anniversary in 2019. Mr Hubbuck welcomed the new Upstream and Offshore Energy exam module, which would help energy adjusters get to grips with the ‘more exotic’ clauses of their market.
On behalf of the Bench and legal profession, Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony, an Honorary Fellow of the Association, said it was the third time he had addressed an Association dinner. Surveying the room, he said: “Standing here, I can see that general average is alive and well.” He added: “I am very pleased to say that London remains the centre of maritime and commercial arbitration.”
Michael Starmans, a Fellow of the Association, proposed a toast to the guests and Association subscribers, expressing delight in the impressive number of four members who had qualified as Fellows in the latest examinations. Such achievement was very important for the future of the Association. The Association had developed into an education institute within the marine world, and Mr Starmans hoped that more men and women in the profession would “have a go at the exams.”
Responding, Marcus Baker, chairman of global marine practice at the Marsh broking group, proposed a toast to the Association, its Fellows and Associates. Mr Baker welcomed the transition of the marine insurance industry from years of male domination to one which appreciated the value of diversity, although “it still has a long way to go… and there needs to be some more pro-active efforts.”
When managed properly, employing a diverse workforce would benefit staff and their companies, increasing productivity. Businesses had to be alive to “the rich dimensions of diversity” and react to this in a positive way.
Mr Baker described average adjusting as “a totally unique skill” and said that the globalisation of the industry made the need for efficiency of paramount importance.
London’s contribution to the marine sector had been reproduced nowhere else. “Maintaining that is not only critical to London, but to the world. The inter-connectivity among us is really important for global trade,” said Mr Baker.
Earlier, at the Association’s annual meeting – its 148th – it was announced that Willum Richards (of Willum Richards Consulting Ltd, New Zealand) had been elected 2017-18 chairman of the Association. Burkhard Fischer continues as deputy chairman, Tristan Miller as treasurer, David Pannell as examinations convener and David Clancey as convenor of the advisory and disputes resolution panel.
Top table guests at the Savoy dinner included Hal Watson, president of the US Maritime Law Association; Jonathan Spencer, president of the Association Mondial de Dispacheurs; Brian Sales, chair of the Association of Average Adjusters of the USA and Canada; Jeroen Groninger, president of Verein Deutscher Dispacheure; Vibeke Kofoed of the Nordic Average Adjusters Association; Bjørn Slaatten, an independent average adjuster appointed by the Norwegian Government; Steffen Jacobsen, chief executive of Evergas; the Rt Hon Sir Stephen Tomlinson, arbitrator and former Appeal Court judge, and Honorary Fellow of the Association of Average Adjusters; Lars Lange, secretary general of the International Union of Marine Insurance; John Macdonald, Fellow of the Association of Average Adjusters; Roger Street, Honorary Fellow of the Association of Average Adjusters; Paola Legat of the Associazione Liquidatori Avarie Marittime; and Rucemah Pereira, president of the Brazilian Association of Average Adjusters.
Note to editors: The Association of Average Adjusters promotes professional principles in the adjustment of marine claims, uniformity of adjusting practice, and the maintenance of high standards of professional conduct. Irrespective of the identity of the instructing party, the average adjuster is bound to act in an impartial and independent manner. The Association plays an important part in London insurance market committees, and has strong relationships with international associations and insurance markets.
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