The Shipowners Club has followed a long list of other P&I clubs in declaring no general increase for 2018.

The UK small and specialist vessel insurer said the decision recognises its “strong financial position” despite challenging operating conditions.

“It has therefore been agreed to utilise encouraging investment returns to subsidise the underwriting position, essentially returning capital to members by providing insurance at below cost,” it added.

TradeWinds has reported that insurers including the American Club, Gard, UK, Britannia, North of England, Standard, Steamship Mutual, West of England and London have already decided to not seek any general increase.

The Shipowners said that during the third quarter there had been ongoing pressure on income and that claims activity had continued in line with the first half of the year, which included enhanced activity of claims reported by clubs to the International Group through the pooling mechanism.

“This may be an indication of an uplift in global claims activity, and a returning to higher utilisation in shipping,” it added.

“The club therefore anticipates an underwriting result close to breakeven for the year.”

Return on investments has been ahead of expectations and an overall surplus for the year is expected.

Looking ahead to 2018, it said premium income and claims are broadly expected to be in line with 2017.

“However, it is anticipated that the strengthening of sterling against the US dollar will impact the expenses incurred in managing the club.

“It has also been noted that the catastrophic losses experienced from natural disasters earlier this year are likely to cause a slight hardening of the reinsurance market.”

It is forecasting a small underwriting deficit next year.