Lloyd’s of London’s Ascot and Marsh provide insurance for Ukrainian shipping corridor

By Carolyn Cohn

LONDON (Reuters) – Insurer Lloyd’s of London Ascot and broker Marsh on Friday launched ocean cargo and war insurance for grain and foodstuffs from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, removing a hurdle to getting started expeditions.

Russia and Ukraine last week signed an agreement, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, to reopen grain and fertilizer exports that have been blocked by war to ease an international food crisis.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Thursday he hoped the first shipment of grain from a Ukrainian Black Sea port could take place as early as Friday, but ‘crucial’ details for the safe passage of ships were still being developed.

The Lloyd’s of London facility will provide up to $50 million in ocean freight and war insurance cover, Lloyd’s, Ascot and Marsh said in a statement.

The cover “would add essential protections to the agreement negotiated by the UN last week and represents the latest support from Lloyd’s and the insurance industry to help the international community respond to the conflict”, said Patrick Tiernan, chief markets at Lloyd’s.

Insurers have previously said they are only willing to cover grain out of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports if there are arrangements for international naval escorts and a clear strategy to counter sea mines.

A Russian missile attack on Odessa just a day after the deal was signed added to their concerns.

“This bespoke, mission-driven facility allows the insurance market to play its part in enabling the vital transportation of grain and food products from Ukraine to the rest of the world,” said Chris McGill, Head of Freight at Ascot.

The cost of such insurance will vary by cargo, owner and port, but is likely to be high, according to insurance sources.

Bounties for going to the wider Black Sea region have risen sharply, up to 5% of the ship’s value from 0.025% before the invasion.

(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan)

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