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Protection and indemnity insurance

Protection and indemnity insurance, more commonly known as "P&I" insurance, is a form of mutual maritime insurance provided by a P&I Club. Whereas a marine insurance company provides "hull and machinery" cover for shipowners, and cargo cover for cargo owners, a P&I Club provides cover for open-ended risks that traditional insurers are reluctant to insure. Typical P&I cover includes: a carrier's third-party risks for damage cause to cargo during carriage; war risks; and risks of environmental damage such as oil spills and pollution. In the UK, both traditional underwriters and P&I clubs are subject to the Marine Insurance Act 1906.

A P&I Club is a mutual insurance association that provides risk pooling, information and representation for its members. Unlike a marine insurance company, which reports to its shareholders, a P&I club reports only to its members. Originally, P&I Club members were typically ship-owners, ship-operators or demise charterers, but more recently freight forwarders and warehouse operators have been able to join.

Whereas the assured pays a premium to an underwriter for cover which lasts for a particular time (say, a year, or a voyage), a P&I Club member instead pays a "call". This is a sum of money that is put into the Club's pool, a kind of "kitty". If, at the end of the year, there are still funds in the pool, each member will pay a reduced call the following year; but if the Club has made a major payout (say, after an oil spillage) club members will immediately have to pay a further call to replenish the pool.

There is an International Group of P&I Clubs based at Peek House, London. These Clubs cooperate to provide funds in the event of huge claims using a complex system to determine liability.

Usage examples of "protection and indemnity insurance".

But despite the size of the Freya and her cargo, the biggest single policy was the protection and indemnity insurance, for the persons of the crew and pollution compensation.