In broker Tysers’ 2017 report on the International Group Clubs, the broker included a club-by-club analysis, which IMN is covering on a one-club-per-day basis. Today, in the final instalment, West Of England Club.
Tysers noted that West of England chairman Francis Sarre reported “another impressive year” which saw the Club finally secure a ratings upgrade from Standard & Poor’s. The 2016 combined ratio of 87.2% produced an underwriting surplus of $23m and the investment return added a further $6.6m, meaning that free reserves grew by $30m (11%) to nearly $307m. Owned tonnage grew by 10m GT to more than 82m.
Tysers noted that it mentioned last year that the Club was unlikely to return premium to members until it had secured its A rating with S&P. It also noted that Sarre commented this year that there was a question “of the extent to which a pure mutual Club should continue increasing its capital strength” and acknowledged that any form of return would be welcomed by the Members. “We expect some good news later in the year”, Tysers said.
Sarre noted that a recent review of the Club’s longer-term business strategy had concluded that the Club “should continue to be committed to being primarily a dedicated mutual Club” and “this will ensure that we remain entirely focused on our core strengths”.
Tysers observed that, notwithstanding this line, Sarre admitted that the door remained open to some form of diversification in the future, particularly if it could be done on a mutual basis.
The most significant change this year will see Tom Bowsher succeed Peter Spendlove as Managing Director and CEO of the Club’s Managers. Tysers concluded: “We wish Tom all the best, and also await our invitation to a suitably lavish party unless the Club instead decides to match the likes of Gard and Britannia on premium returns”.
West of England results summary (all figures $’000)
West of England tonnage by vessel type
West of England tonnage by area