Table of Contents:
The business of marine insurance, being intimately connected with the world-wide distribution of every kind of merchandise, is ineluctably affected by every change in the pattern of consumption and distribution, the social and political atmosphere in which those functions are performed as well as any technical advances in methods of transport. Over the past six decades the effect of all these factors on the development of marine insurance can be clearly discerned.
The size and concentration of many purely domestic loss exposures require since a fairly long time a consequential mustering of international insurance capacity, especially in the marine transport sector. No one country’s market can provide needed cover for property and liability loss exposures arising from out-of-scale large risks like modern container ships, supertankers and gargantuan offshore rigs. Extensive coverage through reinsurance is particularly important in this regard. The London market and large reinsurance companies conduct substantial international operations that expend national insurance capacity.
Not at least for this reasons marine insurance business is characteristically international in scope, with many transactions across national borders. The present thesis is focused on the development of international marine insurance and its trans-border business transactions. In connection with the accelerated internationalisation of world economy since the last third of the 19th century the inherent international dimension of supply and demand structures in marine insurance business were considerably overlaid by country-specific characteristics.
Unfortunately, national authorities offer not any official estimates or suitable statistics embracing all aspects of international marine insurance transactions. Therefore it is very difficult to specify the total premium amount transacted across the borders of a single market. For example, the number of direct placements abroad can not be qualified just for one single market world wide. The unique circumstances in the terms and conditions of marine insurance business cause unavoidable gaps in the knowledge of its precise international transacted amounts.
Consequently the aim of the dissertation is the detailed description of the cross border insurance and reinsurance cover for marine risks related to international markets as far as statistical data is obtainable from official documents.
After a detailed introduction to the evolution of legal and economic aspects of marine insurance since the turn of the 20th century a supplemental collection of case studies focussing on the most important marine insurance and reinsurance markets. Proper attention is given to the balance-of-payments point of view.
Valuable clues to the question if it is applicable to speak of marine insurance and reinsurance as an international business in global transition can be found in the decline of direct writing in international insurance transactions, the growing importance of reinsurance, the hegemonial prevalence of British insurance terms and conditions and the strengthening of the highly competitive and interdependent (“globalized”) character of merchant shipping and of international marine insurance as its subcontractor.