The theme last year’s International Union of Marine Insurance conference, “Charting the Course through Economic Uncertainty,” certainly was on target. Marine insurers from around the world were told that these uncertainties include a spotty and sluggish U.S. and global economy, a sovereign debt crisis here and in Europe and low interest rates.

One thing is certain: the fortunes of marine insurers are inextricably linked to the performance of the global economy and world trade. A flattening of world trade produces little exposure growth. In other words, there is little uptick in the number of ships we insure and the value of their cargoes....

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