Liberty International Underwriters is adding maritime cargo insurance to its Puerto Rico portfolio, looking to tap into that business line via a web-based service through which clients can obtain required coverage for their inbound and outbound shipments.
“This service is directed to insurance brokers and agents, so they can better serve their maritime clients. This tool is especially beneficial to clients with small shipments, which if done through another provider could be costly and slow,” said Arturo Posada, assistant vice president of LIU’s Latin American maritime division.
Federal laws applicable to Puerto Rico require shippers to subscribe to this type of insurance when transporting goods overseas.
For that reason, LIU is setting its sights on nabbing about 10 percent of the island’s $18 million ocean cargo market in the next three to five years, said Thais Kirschner, senior vice president of operations of LIU Latin America.
“Aside from offering maritime cargo insurance, we also offer shippers other services such as ship repair liability, shipbuilders insurance, and hull coverage,” said Thais Kirschner, senior vice president of operations of LIU Latin America.
LIU, which has been doing business in Puerto Rico since 2006, is part of the global specialty lines division of Liberty Mutual Insurance. LIU Latin America offers casualty, specialty casualty, crisis management, environmental, surety, energy, and construction products. This year, the company is expecting to experience a 15 percent growth in the region.
Puerto Rico, Kirschner said, is the second most important market in Latin America behind only Brazil and that has everything to do with its status as a highly regulated market.
Another reason, she said, is the island’s high corruption perception index, which is much higher than the Latin American average.
“Puerto Rico is much more developed and the high number is good, because it means there is transparency,” she said. “There isn’t that much corruption and there is trust in the judiciary system. People trust they are buying insurance policies that will be worth something.”