Technician’s fall into sea while leaving ship was a work-related accident, Singapore court finds

The death of a 51-year-old air-conditioning technician after he fell into the sea on October 23d 2019 while attempting to disembark from bulk carrier Angelic Glory, now the Erica (IMO 9261798), onto a smaller boat was a work-related accident, a court stated.

The accident occurred during a storm off the east coast of Singapore.

Lee Chee Tong, a Malaysian national, shouted for help, but was unable to grab a life buoy that was thrown to him. His body was found three days later by the Police Coast Guard in an advanced state of decomposition.

A coroner has ruled that the incident was an “unfortunate work-related death”. He suggested that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB) might wish to form a dedicated working group or committee to implement proposed recommendations.

The court heard that Lee was on board the bulk carrier, which was anchored in the sea at Eastern Special Purposes “A” Anchorage off the east coast of Singapore. His company, which was in the business of aircon systems and cold rooms for the marine sector, had been subcontracted to repair a refrigeration system and an air-conditioning system on the ship. Lee had been working for the company for more than 20 years and had worked on board vessels at anchorages multiple times over the years, as well as attending the shipyard safety instruction course.

On Oct 23rd 2019 he was the designated supervisor to three other technicians for the repairs on the Angelic Glory, as the vessel was then named.

After being briefed on the risk assessment and having a pre-working meeting, Lee and his team boarded the vessel at about 06:30 and carried out the repairs. They completed the work and got ready to board a smaller launch boat at 16:50 to leave. It started to rain and the boatman of the smaller vessel saw dark clouds approaching.

A ladder was lowered from the Angelic Glory. Lee told his teammate to be careful as the waves were “too strong”. The boatman was forced to manoeuvre the launch boat back and forth a few times before coming into position. When Lee stepped onto the platform that bridged the two vessels and placed one foot on the launch boat while holding onto the ladder railing, there was a sudden swell that caused the bow of the launch boat to pitch down about a metre.

When the boat swung back up, it struck the underside of the platform, causing it to tilt downwards. Lee fell into the sea, just as it began to rain heavily. The MPA found that weather conditions were “squally and thundery”, with a rough sea and swells of 1.5 to two metres. Lee shouted for help twice and struggled to stay afloat in the water. The boatman reversed the launch boat to avoid hitting Lee and to make space for a life buoy to be thrown into the water.

Lee failed to grab the thrown life buoy and was swept towards the stern of the vessel by the waves. The life buoy was thrown towards him again, but by this time Lee was already mostly submerged in the water.

The police, MOM, MPA and the TSIB conducted separate investigations into the incident. Findings included that the team had forgotten their life jackets but did not go back for them, that stanchions were not installed on the platform at the time of the incident and that Mr Lee’s company did not identify safe work procedures for repairs on vessels or safe boarding.

Investigations revealed that the securing arrangement of the platform had been modified, causing securing pins to be dislodged and for the platform to flip downwards when struck by the launch boat.

The incident was mainly caused by the failure of the securing arrangement of the platform when its underside was struck by the launch boat. The master and crew of the vessel had failed to heed guidelines on means of access, and three items on the vessel’s checklist for gangways and accommodation ladders were not complied with – the rigging of a safety net, for rope guardrails to be pulled tight and for the platform to be secured and suitably fenced.

Lee died from drowning. There were no grounds to believe that the boatman was negligent or culpable for his failure to retrieve Lee from the sea, the court heard.

After the incident, the ship owner revised its safe management system while the repair company introduced a procedure requiring everyone to wear a life jacket at all times and implemented safe work procedures for work at anchorages.

The MPA in August 2020 issued a circular setting out guidelines for the safe transfer of people between vessels at anchorages, including “strong” encouragement for people to wear life jackets and for boarding arrangements to be properly rigged. Masters of service boats should consider weather conditions and sea states before deciding on whether to proceed with transfer of personnel at anchorages, the MPA said.

2002-built, Panama-flagged, 40,597 gt Erica is now owned by Fortune Land Shipping Ltd care of Sunrising International Ship Management Ltd, Fuzhou, Fujian, China. ISM manager is IBE Holding Co Ltd of Fuzhou, Fujian, China. It is entered with American Club on behalf of Fortune Land Shipping Ltd.

Syndicate results 2020 #15 MS Amlin Syndicate 2001 (#results)

Syndicate 2001 is, through MS Amlin Corporate Member Ltd, a wholly aligned Syndicate of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Ltd. The ultimate parent company is MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings, Inc.

Active Underwriter is A J Carrier, a director from November 2nd 2020

Previous active underwriters M R Clements (resigned as director September 30th 2020), T C Clementi (resigned as director December 4th 2020) and MJ Taffs (resigned as director March 9th 2020).

On November 19th 2019 MSI announced a reorganization of its international business including the removal of the regional holding company framework across its European region, including the previous intermediate parent MS Amlin plc.

During 2019 the managing agent, along with the Corporate Member and MSI, undertook a strategic review of the business underwritten by the Syndicate.

As a result of this strategic and other business reviews, the decisions were made to cease underwriting aviation insurance, domestic UK property and casualty, pro rata and international casualty lines of business.

These classes had largely ceased to be written on and before January 31st 2020, except to fulfil customer conduct requirements. The underwriting actions taken over the course of 2019 and 2020, together with the structural and management changes, enabled the Syndicate to focus on its core markets of Reinsurance and Specialty.

During 2020 a number of support functions and activities would be federated to the insurance entities of the former MS Amlin Group, including the managing agent. A new executive and senior management team of the managing agent was implemented through this activity. This included the appointment of a new CEO and bringing all underwriting operations under a single Chief Underwriting Officer. Upcoming additions including a new Chief Risk Officer, Chief Actuary and Director of Underwriting Performance.

Results £m 2020 2019 2018
GWP 1370.0 2084.5 2372.2
NWP 975.8 1548.7 1699.9
NEP 1271.9 1724.6 1621.9
Combined ratio 119% 101% 108%

Syndicate capacity for 2018, 2019 and 2020 was £1,850m.

For 2021 syndicate capacity is £1,600m.

The result for calendar year 2020 is a loss of £178.1m(2019: £69.2m profit).

GWP decreased to £1,370.0m (2019: £2,084.5m), a reduction of 34%. This was primarily driven by the underwriting strategy review. Net earned premiums decreased by £452.7m to £1,271.9m (2019: £1,724.6 m) for the same reason.

The Syndicate’s claims ratio deteriorated to 76% (2019: 64%), primarily reflecting the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the impact of a large number of natural catastrophe events.

Covid-19 losses

The Syndicate said that the loss impact of Covid-19 had been experienced across a number of classes, including the discontinued UK P&C classes for business interruption claims.

These claims have been subject to court proceedings between a number of insurers (including MS AUL), the FCA and representative policyholder groups. These proceedings culminated in a Supreme Court ruling issued on January 15th 2021. The Syndicate said that this process brought a degree of certainty to many, but not all, matters relating to coverage of Covid-19 and would enable the settlement of many of those claims. The Syndicate said that, to date, only a small proportion of claims had been settled.

There is uncertainty in all loss reserves but, in the case of Covid-19, the Syndicate said that the uncertainty was extended by the nature of the loss event, the fact that the loss was ongoing and the possibility that further legal action might be required to resolve the coverage issues (both for insurers and reinsurers) that have been raised.

In terms of Covid-19 losses the Syndicate has recorded a gross best estimate loss of £229.0m. After reinsurance recoveries of £93.0m, the net best estimate loss of £136.0m, representing 11% of the loss ratio.

2020 also saw a large number of natural catastrophe events, with a record number of Atlantic hurricanes, although the overall insured losses from these hurricanes was considerably lower than those in 2005 or 2017. Other losses arose from wildfires and severe convective storms (giving rise to tornados, floods and hail losses). These events exceeded loss expectations for this type of event and contributed 7% to the loss ratio.

Technical account analysis

2020 £m GWP GEP Gross claims incurred Net operating expenses Reinsurance Balance Total Net technical provisions Commissions on gross premiums earned
Direct MAT 191.1 222.4 (94.1) (79.6) (20.8) 27.9 409.1 (65.3)
Total Direct 775.6 1,031.4 (678.7) (347.2) (54.7) (49.2) 1,916.6 (295.9)
Reinsurance 594.4 701.6 (687.4) (193.8) (11.3) (190.9) 1,088.4 (88.9)
Total 1,370.0 1,733.0 (1,366.1) (541.0) (66.0) (240.1) 3,005.0 (384.8)
2019 £m GWP GEP Gross claims incurred Net operating expenses Reinsurance Balance Total Net technical provisions Commissions on gross premiums earned
Direct MAT 202.1 243.0 (217.5) (76.1) 23.0 (27.3) 360.3 (53.7)
Total Direct 1264.1 1383.8 (999.0) (460.2) (33.3) (108.7) 2129.0 (346.6)
Reinsurance 820.4 887.2 (414.8) (215.0) (200.4) 57.0 1158.5 (169.4)
Total 2084.5 2271.0 (1413.8) (675.2) (233.7) (51.7) 3287.5 (516.0)

The five (2019: three) active underwriters during the year received the following remuneration charged as a Syndicate expense for the period they were appointed:

£’000s 2020 2019
Salaries and other short term benefits 1,461 1,404
Amounts received under cash based long-term incentive schemes 104
Employer’s contribution to pension schemes 100 83
Termination benefits 1,800
Total 3,361 1,591