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NorthStandard seeks Asia growth with new regional HQ in Singapore

Photo: NorthStandard David Roberts, Head for Asia-Pacific, NorthStandard
David Roberts, Head for Asia-Pacific, NorthStandard
The recently merged P&I club NorthStandard is eyeing growth in Asia as it opens its new regional headquarters in Singapore.

David Roberts previously Managing Director of Standard Asia, leads the merged business in Asia as Head for Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile James Moran, former North Director in Singapore, is NorthStandard’s Chief Operating Officer, Asia Pacific/Head of P&I Claims - Asia Pacific.

With over 390m gt of owned and chartered tonnage on NorthStandard’s books worldwide Asia – Pacific accounts for just under one-third of that with about 123m gt. However, Asia – Pacific owners account for 50% of global tonnage and Roberts notes in an interview that it could be said the merged club was therefore “a bit underweight” in the region. “But it certainly means, I think, that there is a huge amount of growth potential for NorthStandard in this region,” he says in an interview with Seatrade Maritime News.

The NorthStandard’s Asia – Pacific team comprises 135 staff, of which 100 are physically based in the region, with almost 60 in the new Singapore regional HQ. The insurer also has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Melbourne, Sydney, and Port Nelson in New Zealand.

The merged club’s largest concentrations of business are in Singapore, China, Japan, and Korea. “We would anticipate seeing further growth, and we need to at least maintain our market share, but I would envisage us growing our market share in in those countries,” Roberts says.

But he also sees significant potential for growth in Southeast markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. While these countries may not have the biggest shipowners there are small-to-medium sized companies running to high operational standards. “We also like members who value long term relationships, who value mutuality, and we will continue to target those.”

The merger gives members access to a greater range of coverage with both clubs having their own specialist areas with the two clubs not entirely replicating each other in terms of products. These include Strike & Delay Class cover, the Singapore War Risk Mutual, FD&D, fixed premium, and a dedicated Coastal & Inland Class.

As with any merger cost savings are part of the objective. NorthStandard gave an undertaking that this would not mean redundancies, a pledge Roberts says they have kept to, so the focus on cost saving comes from shared services, increasing buying power in reinsurance purchasing, and office space consolidation.

Marcus Handnorthstandard-singapore-office.jpg

In terms of office space consolidation Singapore represents the first move in that respect with Standard moving from its long-time home in PIL Building, which is set for redevelopment, to an expansion and renovation of North’s office a short walk away in Springleaf Tower. The new office is open plan design with employees hot desking.

Structurally North and Standard Club operated differently in Singapore prior to the merger with the former as a branch, while Standard operating as a subsidiary with the Standard Asia, a regulated Singapore insurance entity. Roberts explains the Standard Asia will continue to exist and is part of a corporate restructuring as the merged club reorganizes its business.

TAGS: Asia