Lloyd’s of London’s Ascot, Marsh Provide Marine Cargo Insurance for Ukraine Sea Corridor

Lloyd's of London insurer Ascot and broker Marsh on Friday launched marine cargo and war insurance for grain and food products moving from Ukrainian Black Sea ports on Friday, removing a barrier to getting shipments underway.

Source: Reuters | Published on July 29, 2022

The Ukrainian flag flies from the stern of a ship in the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine, on September 16, 2016.

Last week, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement brokered by Turkey and the United Nations to reopen war-damaged grain and fertilizer exports in order to alleviate an international food crisis.

The United Nations' aid chief, Martin Griffiths, said on Thursday that the first grain shipment from a Ukrainian Black Sea port could take place as early as Friday, but that "critical" details for the safe passage of vessels were still being worked out.

The Lloyd's of London facility will provide up to $50 million in marine cargo and war insurance coverage, according to a statement from Lloyd's, Ascot, and Marsh.

According to Patrick Tiernan, Lloyd's chief of markets, the cover would "add essential protections to the deal brokered by the UN last week and represents the latest support from Lloyd's and the insurance industry to help the international community respond to the conflict."

Insurers have previously stated that they will only cover grain leaving Ukrainian Black Sea ports if arrangements for international navy escorts and a clear strategy for dealing with sea mines are in place.

A Russian missile attack on Odesa just a day after the agreement was signed has heightened their fears.

"This bespoke, mission-focused facility allows the insurance market to play a role in enabling the vital transportation of grain and food products out of Ukraine to the rest of the world," said Chris McGill, Ascot's head of cargo.

According to insurance sources, the cost of such insurance will vary depending on the cargo, shipowner, and port, but it will most likely be high.

Premiums for entering the Black Sea region have risen dramatically, reaching up to 5% of the ship's value, up from 0.025 percent before the invasion.