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An Interview with Steve Connor


 Increase Agency Revenue by Targeting Booming Cargo Insurance Needs


 Q.  Is there enough business out there to be worth an agent/broker investing his or her time in learning about Marine Cargo Insurance?

A.  Emphatically yes!  The volume of world trade carried by sea is usually measured in tone-miles.  Currently it is estimated that the shipping industry carries 90% of world trade and transports in excess of 7.7 thousand million tones of cargo per year.  This equates to a total volume of world trade by sea of over 32 thousand billion tone-miles per year.


Q.  That seems like a ton of cargo (if you'll excuse the pun)...but what is that worth in US dollars?

A.  Translating the volume into monetary terms can only be a guestimate, but the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that merchant ships carry about US$380 billion in freight around the world.


Q.  Okay...but how much of those dollars are available to the US insurance market as premium?

A.  In the United States alone, the US cargo insurance business currently accounts for about $700 million in direct written premium.


Q.  Is this figure likely to grow?

A.  Again, emphatically yes!  The President's National Export Initiative has targeted doubling US exports within 5 years, which means that by year 5 the additional cargo premium on the table in the US will be around $350 million, making the total direct written premium just over $1 billion.


Q.  Why has Wyvern chosen this particular time to introduce the Wyvern Marine Cargo Insurance Training Webinars?

A.  Simply because the volume in exports is growing exponentially right now!  US property and casualty insurance agents can benefit from this increase in exports, but only those that are positioned to do so will be able to take full advantage of the situation.  The fact that this premium pool is growing, not shrinking, should be an incentive for motiviated producers to learn how to sell this specialty niche.


Q.  So if an agent/producer attends one of Wyvern's Cargo Insurance Training Webinars will they be in a position to take full advantage of the situation?

A.  I can guarantee they will be in a better position than they were!  However, Wyvern doesn't stop with merely a 1.5 hour webinar.  Marine cargo insurance is too complicated to learn everything in so short a time.  Remember, it's taken me around 45 years to learn this business.  After the webinar I will personally help the producer/agent or agency sell a custom cargo policy to their clients.  We can provide application forms headed up with their own logos, act as their confidential consultant as they interface with their clients, and of course provide the market to place the risk with.


Q.  Is it really so complicated?

A.  A lot of it comes down to basic common sense.  However, one of the reasons I like it so much is that it can never become automated like car or household insurance.  I cannot imagine a day when marine cargo insurance could be bought by a client simply checking a couple of boxes on a computer and then the policy spits out.  That's why there will always been a need for knowledgeable and experienced marine cargo insurance brokers - and with exports increasing we need more such individuals.