Nat Re signs world’s first statement on sustainable marine insurance


Nat Re and global insurers sign industry statement on sustainable marine insurance October 2017—National Reinsurance Corporation of the Philippines (Nat Re) joins global insurers such as Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, AXA, Generali, and The Shipowners’ Club in signing the world’s first insurance industry statement on sustainable marine insurance. The Statement confirms the signatories’ commitment to not knowingly insure or facilitate the insuring of vessels that have been blacklisted for their involvement in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

More than twenty leading insurers, insurance market bodies, and key stakeholders from across the globe have signed the statement. It was launched on 6 October 2017 at the European Union-hosted Our Ocean conference in Malta.

“Refusing to provide insurance for vessels known to engage in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is a powerful and seemingly obvious tool in curtailing these destructive fishing practices,” says Augusto Hidalgo, CEO of Nat Re. “Despite that, it remains to be overlooked perhaps because of the lack of engaging conversations on that matter between (re)insurers and other stakeholders, particularly policymakers.

“Our statement can be that catalyst to more fruitful discussions with other groups who are just as committed as we are in preserving our marine resources,” Hidalgo adds. “We (re)insurers are ready to maximize our capabilities and strategize with other stakeholders so we can tactically combat IUU fishing from every angle possible.”

The insurance industry statement is supported by Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation, and the UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI), the largest collaborative initiative between the UN and the insurance industry. Nat Re is also a signatory to and a supporter of the UN Principles for Sustainable Insurance.

Butch Bacani, who leads the UN PSIs, says: “We live on the Blue Planet, so it’s a tragedy pirate fishing, polluted oceans and dead coral reefs are out-of-sight and out-of-mind to many. With this commitment, insurers are showing foresight and leadership. They’re making it crystal clear that responsible and sustainable maritime industry practices and healthy oceans go hand in hand with insurability and business sustainability.”

IUU fishing not only destroys fish populations but also costs the global economy between USD 10 billion to 23.5 billion every year. Citing international data, the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources says that the Philippines alone loses USD 1 billion to 2 billion to IUU fishing. Of the more than 50 million Filipinos dependent on fish for food, it is the 1.8 million dependent on fishing as their livelihood who are most hard-hit by these illegal fishing practices.

The Philippine government continues its battle against IUU fishing. It has amended its Fisheries Code in 2015 to raise penalties for illegal fishing practices from PHP5,000 (USD100 ) to PHP300,000 (USD 6,000). In 2017 it announced that it would file administrative cases against local executives who fail to curb IUU fishing in their communities.