9-9-13 10:37 AM EDT | Email Article

LONDON, Sept. 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Willis Group Holdings (NYSE:WSH), the global risk advisor, insurance and reinsurance broker, has launched a new liability insurance policy to cover the costs associated with repatriating stranded seafarers.

The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) which came into force on August 20, states that flag states[i] are responsible for repatriating seafarers back to their home country when a ship is abandoned.

According to the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) database there are currently 184 reported incidents of abandoned vessels and seafarers around the world[ii]. As a result of the economic downturn's impact on global shipping a record number of vessels – and crews – were abandoned in 2009 and 2010, according to The Mission to Seafarers, the world's largest charitable port-based welfare service.

Offered in association with Lodestar Marine Limited and The Mission to Seafarers the new policy – called FLIER[iii] – provides:

  • Coverage for legal liabilities relating to repatriation and medical costs following an abandonment (due to insolvency), which flag states inherit as a result of the MLC 
  • Abandoned seafarers with access to expert advice and services – including medical aid, logistical assistance, wages, provisions and supplies – in partnership with The Mission to Seafarers and Lodestar.

A contribution from every policy sold by Willis will go toward funding The Mission to Seafarers' humanitarian efforts.

David Purdy, Executive Director in Willis' Financial and Executive Risks Practice and one of the architects of the policy wording, said: "The typical costs of repatriating abandoned seafarers could be in the region of hundreds of thousands of dollars. If any members of the crew have severe injuries then the costs could be considerably more. With market capacity of around $5-10 million, provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe Limited, FLIER offers flag states a cost-effective means of transferring these liabilities and helps ensure that seafarers receive the right humanitarian, financial and logistical support in the unfortunate event of being abandoned overseas."

The Reverend Andrew Wright, Secretary General at the Mission, said: "The Mission to Seafarers has been working with Willis to advise on crew welfare in the event of abandonment and we welcome FLIER, which will insure flag states for their new responsibilities under the MLC. Partnerships with industry help the Mission to continue to provide care and support across the 71 countries where we are currently based; we are grateful to Willis for the company's support."

The MLC provides rights and protection at work for the world's more than 1.3 million seafarers and is supported by the ILO as well as governments and the international community.

About Willis

Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global risk advisor, insurance and reinsurance broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 17,000 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world's leading authorities on analytics, modelling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website, www.willis.com, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.

About Mission to Seafarers

Founded in 1856, and entirely funded by voluntary donations, today's Mission to Seafarers is a registered charity that offers emergency assistance, practical support, and a friendly welcome to crews visiting over 260 ports around the world in 71 countries. Whether caring for victims of piracy or providing a lifeline to those stranded in foreign ports, we are there for the globe's 1.3 million merchant seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs. The Mission to Seafarers' Patron is Her Majesty The Queen and our President is Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. To find out how we help those facing shipwreck, abandonment, loneliness and danger, visit our website: www.missiontoseafarers.org

About Lodestar Marine

Lodestar Marine Limited was founded in 2011 to provide fixed premium Protection and Indemnity insurance solutions for the shipping world. The team is comprised of 14 claims handlers and underwriters and have collectively spent over 200 years working at International Group P&I Clubs, P&I fixed premium insurers, Ship Managers, Marine insurance brokers, Surveying firms and P&I Correspondents. Lodestar provides a wide ranging and diverse wealth of experience, including a fully experienced claims service with availability for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This is assisted by a comprehensive worldwide network of correspondents which give their assureds peace of mind and enables Lodestar to react to incidents quickly wherever they may occur in the world.

Notes to Editors

[i] Commercial shipping vessels are required to register with flag states, which have the responsibility and authority to enforce regulations such as the MLC 

[ii] The SECTOR database contains a regularly updated list of vessels that have been reported to the ILO as abandoned in various ports of the world http://www.ilo.org/dyn/seafarers/

[iii] Flag Liability Insurance Against Exposure for Repatriation (FLIER)

         Nathan Hambrook-Skinner
         + 44 2031 248 716
         Email: nathan.hambrook-skinner@willis.com
         Peter Poillon
         +1 212 915 8084
         Email: Peter.Poillon@willis.com
GlobeNewswire, Inc. 2013
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