2011 AGM Report

Hon. Secretary’s Report


You should find the Accounts for last year relatively straightforward. You will see our Expenditure exceeded Income (by £2,475). There were essentially two reasons for this – firstly, our subscriptions were down by some £1,425 and we also incurred costs of £1,462 for attendance at the AIDA World Congress in Paris last year.

Although we had a larger deficit of £2,833 in the previous year, we did have 2 one-off items that year – the donation for £4,000 made to Lord Mance’s ad hoc committee (formed to consider arbitration appeals to the High Court – this money is currently being held by Maritime London on behalf of Lord Mance) and the sum of £2,000 for the up-grade to our website. You may recall, however, that these items were partially offset by a refund of the provision for £2,000 made in the previous year’s books for the cost of running our last Tutorial at Hogan Lovells’ offices.

You will note that last year’s Workshop/AGM produced a small surplus (£40) and we are indebted to Sir Alan Traill for once more arranging these excellent facilities at Cutlers Hall. Despite the overall deficit, our capital account as at the end of the last financial year was in reasonable shape with £11,621 in the bank. This is after making provision for what is effectively a pre-payment of next year’s subscriptions for those members who took advantage of the discounted 2 years rate.

Membership Report

I am pleased to report that the Membership of our Panel is also in reasonable shape. We did, however, last year have quite a large turnover of Members and, as at today’s date, the Society’s Panel Membership stands at 89, excluding our 2 honorary members, Hugh Thompson and Dr Peter Frey. This represents a net reduction of 12 over last year there having been 5 new members appointed and 16 lapses or resignations. We also sadly lost one long standing member, Robin Jackson, who passed away last year.

Once more, by far the largest discipline represented within our membership is underwriting (both marine and non-marine) but we also have members with backgrounds in law, claims, broking and accountancy.

The actual numbers currently stand as follows:

Underwriting – 47
Law – 17
Claims – 13
Broking – 9
Accountancy – 3

Whilst the majority are of course domiciled in the UK, it is good to see a continuing overseas representation – at 24, overseas membership remains more than a quarter of the total, a reduction of just one over last year. Our current membership comes from:

UK – 65
USA – 14
Germany – 3
France – 3
Switzerland – 2

and one each from Bermuda and Norway. With the retirement of Per-Olaf Granstedt we unfortunately lost our sole representative from Sweden. We are especially pleased to welcome those overseas members who are with us here today.

On a slightly less positive note, I thought I should make reference to the membership trend over the last 4 years.

Panel Membership – 4 year trend

2008 – 112
2009 – 104
2010 – 101
2011 – 89

You will see this has declined by 23 over this period representing a 20% fall. This is probably due to 3 factors – Members simply retiring from the business, the current shortage of arbitration work in the market and the straightened times in which we live. On the last note, I have to report that subscriptions for 9 of our current members remain outstanding and it is, therefore, possible that our membership could suffer a further reduction.

Of the overall Panel Membership, 81 currently feature on the Society’s website. I reported last year we would be writing to Panel Members to give them the opportunity to include their photographs with their website entries and this was duly done. So far, some 22 Members have taken advantage of this facility and it does, of course, still remain open for those who have so far seemed a little coy.

Having discussed how the Society might further assist Panel Members, the Committee has decided to allow Members to publicise on the website other insurance or reinsurance-related activities in which they may be involved. An optional additional section will, therefore, be made available and we shall shortly be writing to Panel Members inviting them to include this information, if required. Our website designers have agreed to do the necessary set-up work for a very modest fee and with no increase in maintenance costs.

Website hit rates

Unique Visitors: 5,094 (+70.3%)
Search Engine Visits: 3,923 (+321%)
Most Viewed Pages
Panel Members: 10,427
ARIAS Rules/Clause: 1,624
Mediation Scheme: 466

NB All figures for year ending 30th April 2011

As always, we welcome suggestions as to any particular enhancements members would like to see to the website.

There are no plans for the moment to reissue our Directory of Panel Members. The last edition, the 3rd one, was published some 3½ years ago and, despite its success as a reference book and marketing tool, its biggest drawback of course is that, once published, it cannot be up-dated. This is in contrast to the website which is being continuously up-dated with new members and changes to existing Members’ details.

Finally, as regards our Tutorials, the last was held in October 2008 and, having since monitored interest, I am pleased to say another is planned for this Autumn – the 14th and 15th October to be precise. As you will know, it is the Society’s policy that Members who are inexperienced in arbitral proceedings should not undertake such work until they have attended a tutorial and all our more recent Members have duly been circulated with details – it is also of course open to established members seeking to refresh their knowledge. If any Members here today would like to be included, David Holmes would be pleased to make a note of your interest.

T.G. Fairs
Hon. Secretary and Panel Member, ARIAS (UK)

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