Media Releases
Published Date: 07 November 2000

Developing Singapore as the Marine Insurance Centre for Asian Business

First "Approved Marine Insurers" awarded by MAS

Singapore, 7 November 2000... The Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") announced today that it has awarded new Approved Marine Insurer ("AMI") statuses to a first batch of three insurance companies, in its move to develop Singapore as the marine insurance centre for Asian business. The three companies awarded the inaugural AMI status are Gerling Global Re, HSBC Insurance (Asia) and Swiss Re.

Effected in February this year, the Tax Exemption Scheme for Offshore Marine Hull and Liability Insurance Business is available to all general direct insurance and reinsurance companies which have made additional commitment to writing offshore marine hull and liability insurance business from Singapore. Companies awarded the AMI status will be exempted from the tax on underwriting profits, as well as certain income derived from investing premium income and shareholders' funds in relation to marine insurance business.

Speaking at the Marine Insurance Conference on Cargo, Hull and P&I, organised by Asia Insurance Review (AIR), MAS' Executive Director of Insurance, Mrs Hauw Soo Hoon said, "The AMI scheme provides experienced marine insurers with the relevant expertise an added incentive to grow their business focuses here, and contribute to developing the level of marine hull and liability underwriting capabilities in Singapore."

Recognising that the marine insurance industry has been facing intense competition in recent years, the MAS called on industry players to work together to grow the level of expertise for marine insurance services in Asia Pacific. Mrs Hauw highlighted that MAS' role as a regulator is to ensure that a conducive regulatory framework is in place to encourage innovation, whilst ensuring that Singapore's existing high prudential standards are not compromised. Insurers then have the crucial role of sustaining the development of a competitive and sound market, by providing (i) sound underwriting; (ii) best business practices; and (iii) a professional insurance staff to serve the best cover to clients.

In her speech, Mrs Hauw also highlighted the potential for Singapore to develop into a marine insurance centre for Asian business. Said Mrs Hauw, "Forty percent of the world's commercial tonnage are controlled by Asian owners and Asian operations. Asian shipping lines are still growing strongly with shipping traffic in Asia envisaged to be growing the fastest. There is therefore a strong case for the emergence of a marine insurance centre for Asian business in the region. Singapore is a natural location to service the marine insurance needs of the Asia-Pacific shipping community, with our stable political and business environment, unparalleled infrastructure and strategic geographical location." Singapore is already home to many international insurers, and to-date, have admitted three Protection & Indemnity (P&I) clubs onto its shores. In addition to the development of marine insurance services here, MAS is also part of a multi-agency effort to develop Singapore as an International Maritime Centre, including the development of shipping agencies, shipping registry, ship broking and surveillance services.