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Axa doesn’t expect ‘material’ group losses from bridge collapse


Axa SA said Thursday it does not expect losses from the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key bridge after it was struck by a container ship to be material at the group level.

 “We continue to monitor this closely,” Axa said. The insurer’s estimate was based on a preliminary assessment.

Axa XL, a unit of the French insurer, leads the $3 billion group excess of loss cover for the International Group of P&I clubs, an association of 12 protection and indemnity clubs that provides marine liability cover for 90% of the world’s ocean-going tonnage.

The coverage is spread among 80 reinsurers, including more than 20 of the top 25 global reinsurers, based on several analyst reports.

Individual clubs retain $10 million on any claim, and claims in excess of $10 million up to $100 million are shared between the group clubs.

London-based marine mutual insurer The Britannia P&I Club confirmed Tuesday that the Dali container ship is insured by the club for protection and indemnity liabilities.

The collective P&I loss could be material, though shared among more than 80 participating reinsurers, Fitch Ratings Inc. said Thursday in a report.

“A $2 billion-$4 billion industry loss is anticipated to be spread widely across carriers and would not have a rating impact on large reinsurers, including Axa XL, the lead underwriter on the reinsurance policy, Munich Re, Swiss Re, SCOR, Hannover and Lloyd’s of London,” Fitch said.

Insurance coverage on the bridge is also understood to be heavily reinsured, and the loss will likely be subject to subrogation from the responsible parties, Fitch said.

Chubb Ltd. is understood to lead the property coverage on the bridge, based on analyst reports. The bridge is valued at upwards of $1.2 billion, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The Baltimore bridge collapse is a sizeable but manageable loss event for the property/casualty industry, analysts at TD Cowen said Thursday in a report that put expected insured losses at between $1.5 billion and $3 billion.

“While claims are likely to be spread across many coverages and lines, the majority of losses are likely to be subrogated to the marine insurance market,” the analysts said.

The loss will be borne mostly by marine reinsurers, the report said.