Libya to stay on high risk list: ship insurers

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 22, 2011 7:29 AM
Libya to stay on high risk list: ship insurers

By Jonathan Saul

LONDON (Reuters) - There is no immediate prospect of Libya being removed from a list of areas deemed high risk by London's marine insurance market and underwriters will seek a stable period before looking at de-listing, a market official said on Monday.

Libyan government tanks and snipers put up scattered resistance in Tripoli on Monday after rebels swept into the heart of the capital, cheered on by crowds hailing the end of Muammar Gaddafi's 42 years in power.

The Joint War Committee (JWC), which groups syndicate members from the Lloyd's Market Association (LMA) and representatives from London's insurance company market, added Libya to a list of area it considered high risk for merchant vessels and prone to war, strikes, terrorism and related perils.

"There is no immediate prospect that Libya would be taken off the listed areas if hostilities were declared over," said LMA senior technical executive Neil Roberts.

"Every situation is different, but underwriters would certainly be looking for a stable period in the country before considering whether to de-list," he told Reuters.

The London marine insurance market plays an influential role in the global marine insurance industry.

"It would be unrealistic to take it off in the short term and the situation would be monitored in respect of enhanced risks to maritime assets," Roberts said, referring to Libya.

"Simply being listed does not mean that additional charges will be made automatically but it does give insurers the chance to assess the risks they are faced with and react accordingly."

The heightened risk of damage to oil tankers and targeted western sanctions on Gaddafi's government have virtually paralyzed shipping activity in recent months.

(Reporting by Jonathan Saul; editing by Jason Neely)