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Press article: Ongoing education in the marine liability market

08 July 2014

The below article was drafted for Post Magazine and is reproduced with permission. The original can be found on their website

 

Ongoing education is essential in the insurance industry. It ensures that highly qualified, professional staff are able to respond quickly and effectively on behalf of policyholders. This is particularly true in the maritime liability market, where complex claims involving multiple parties in jurisdictions around the world can occur at any time.

To appreciate the complexities involved, just think of the liability issues surrounding the "Rena" container ship, which grounded in New Zealand in October 2011. This led to claims for cargo, pollution, personal injury, salvage and wreck removal.

Liability insurance for the majority of world shipping is provided by 13 mutual insurance companies, also known as clubs, which provide protection and indemnity insurance. These insurers are all members of the International Group of P&I Clubs, which created the P&I Qualification to provide the highest standards of training and education to people working for P&I clubs in 2010.

The P&IQ provides the first and only comprehensive formal training in P&I, by which understanding of the subject can be objectively measured. The modules are written by industry figures who have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to the next generation.

The syllabus formalises the learning of information which candidates previously would only have picked up over time. People working for P&I Clubs often have legal or seafaring qualifications, but rarely the knowledge of all the subjects covered by the qualification - or much experience of their practical application.
Also, those working for P&I Clubs specialise in either claims handling or underwriting, so this qualification gives them a broader understanding and helps them work more effectively. For example, it is invaluable for an underwriter to have a good comprehension of liability and claims issues as those are the risks that they are underwriting. Candidates often say the qualification allows them to learn things that put their job into perspective.

The P&I Qualification consists of seven modules covering all aspects of P&I insurance including marine insurance, risks, underwriting and claims. Examinations take place in June and November each year. They are held in a number of locations around the world - the UK, Greece, Hong Kong and Singapore. As an internationally recognised qualification it is useful to have locations available around the world, and further growth is planned - an examination location in the US is likely to be added this year.

The modules in the P&I Qualification also earn around half the number of credits required for the ACII diploma. Although executives working for P&I Clubs are encouraged to take the full qualification, those in support roles often choose just to do the first two modules which give an introduction to P&I and a general understanding of the shipping industry. At present only those employed by P&I Clubs are eligible to take the P&I Qualification. Consideration is now being given to allowing others to do so.

The P&IQ has been an undoubted success. It started in November 2010 with around ten candidates taking the first two modules. Over the last four years, a great deal of value has been placed on these qualifications and as a result, in June 2014, some 130 candidates are due to sit the exams. The first cohort of candidates has now completed the full course - an achievement which was recognised with an awards ceremony held in November 2013 at the Watermen's Hall in London.