Office Profile Hong Kong - Waypoints Issue 04
The history of our Hong Kong office began in 1979, when China was just beginning to re-open after a prolonged period of isolation from trade. West had a firm belief that China would re-emerge and develop into one of Asia’s largest shipping centres and to service the insurance demands from this growing market, it was decided that the Club should have a presence in Hong Kong.
Peter Spendlove, who
would go on to become
the Managing Director of
the Club’s management
company for many years,
was dispatched and West’s
Hong Kong office opened
on 30th March 1982, with
Since then, twelve other
IG Clubs have established
offices in Hong Kong, but
West’s remains the largest
with 35 employees.
At that time only one other
Club had a base in Hong
Kong. Only about 25 Chinese
vessels traded internationally
and therefore required P&I
insurance but at the start
none of these were entered
with us so our opening book
of Asian business consisted
of four Vietnamese vessels
which had joined on 20th
February 1976 after North
and South Vietnam had
reunified in 1975!
Peter’s original secondment
contract contained a £150
‘tropical clothing’ allowance
to reflect the rather different
working conditions in Asia.
Peter Spendlove and Ventris Lam - Year 1983
From those small roots our Hong Kong office has gone from strength to strength; our entered tonnage from Vietnam has grown from four to more than 300 vessels and our mainland China book to over 1,200 vessels, making West the largest IG Club in both countries.
In 1996, West was the first Club to
commence underwriting from Hong Kong,
which enabled us to greatly improve the
local service delivery to Members in the
region. A Loss Prevention department was
added in 1998 to further improve support to
our Asian Members as the shipping industry
in the region continued to grow.
Owned and chartered tonnage written from
Hong Kong now exceeds 50m gross tonnes,
which represents nearly 50% of the Club’s
total entered tonnage.
Covid related rules and measures have very
much influenced our last three years here.
However, restrictions have recently eased
and travel has become possible again.
Group Photo: The Hong Kong Office with friends and family - December 2022
As this is the Year of the Rabbit, all of us in the HK office offer our very best wishes for health, good fortune and happiness to our many friends, Members and associates in Asia and beyond- “Gong Xi Fa Cai!”.