West P&I Club launches new Piracy Protection product

Group Club West P&I has cooperated with Hamilton Global Specialty to launch “West Piracy Protection”, which it said would help owners manage the evolving threat of piracy in high-risk waters.

The new product provides cover for vessels that enter a War & Piracy ‘breach’ area where there is a heightened risk of vessels being seized. This would include, for example, the Gulf of Aden off Yemen, or the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa.

West said that the new policy was tailored to provide insurance protection for piracy events where traditional War policy coverage did not respond adequately to indemnify clients for the typical seizure situations that can take place in these geographic areas. One example would be incidents when ships were held for just a few hours.

Indemnities are provided for ransoms, including loss of transit of a ransom, and the costs of response consultants and legal experts, including reputational risk expenses. Support is provided for employees directly impacted by the seizure.

Additional coverage is available for Loss of Hire related to a seizure, and for a maximum period of 14 days after release of the vessel.

The product has been developed in partnership with the Hamilton Global Specialty, the underwriting platform written by Syndicate 4000 at Lloyd’s. Embedded emergency expertise is provided by Crisis24, one of the industry’s largest exclusively retained crisis response teams, and global law firm HFW, a market leader in piracy response.

Richard Turner, Head of Product Development at West said that “West Piracy Protection responds to the realities of the evolving piracy threat faced by owners in such locations as the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea. We have seen a pattern of incidents where a vessel is hijacked for just a few hours, meaning that current market wording on Loss of Hire may not be triggered, or ceases as soon as the vessel is released, with little regard for the knock-on consequences, which may include crew changes or vessel repairs”.

He said that the new West offering would stand out from the market because of the combination of extended coverage with the embedded expertise offered by Crisis24 and HFW.

Mark Mathews, Deputy Head of Underwriting (London) said that West had “worked closely with Hamilton to develop an innovative product that addresses a number of identified needs in the market where existing cover falls short. This new product enables West to offer a tailored piracy protection solution alongside our existing West War policy (launched in March 2023).”

Ship owners and operators can purchase West Piracy Protection as an extension to the West War policy, or as a product on a standalone basis. It is also available to non-West clients.