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Business & Economy

Delight for North P&I as members back ‘visionary’ merger

A Newcastle-headquartered global shipping and marine insurer has “tremendous opportunities” to grow after members backed a merger, its boss has told North East Times Magazine.

Paul Jennings says North P&I will create jobs and strengthen its international presence from the banks of the Tyne amid the “huge benefits” of its amalgamation with London-based Standard Club.

The companies say the “visionary” tie-up – approved by North P&I members earlier this summer – will be known as NorthStandard and operate as one of the world’s largest maritime insurance groups, with around 300 years’ combined experience, premium income of $750 million and about 700 staff.

It will also unite two North East firms, with Standard Club understood to have been founded by Northumberland-born Charles Taylor, who operated out of Sunderland before moving to the capital.

Revealing more than nine out of ten members eligible to vote had supported the plans, chief executive Paul [pictured, above] said: “People have really bought into our rationale.

“To receive membership support was massively important, and the scale of the support was overwhelming.

“More than 90 per cent of the members eligible to vote did so, and of those, more than 97 per cent were in favour.

“That is really significant and quite humbling.

“This merger will give us great financial stability and resilience.”

And he confirmed the deal – which is expected to receive regulatory approval by the end of the summer – will provide a platform to create more jobs at North’s Newcastle Quayside base.

He said: “There are huge benefits.

“We’ve got a business plan for the next four to five years, in which we’re looking at 30 to 40 per cent growth, though that is quite modest in terms of what we can achieve.

“And if we hit those targets, it would inevitably lead to more people in the business.

“This is not about cost-cutting; we’ve made a commitment to staff that we will not be reducing numbers.

“There are tremendous opportunities that will require more people going forward.

“Having a significant London part of the business will be a big benefit, but the large concentration of people will continue to be in Newcastle.”

He added: “This is a good story for North East business.

“It has been a tough two-and-a-half years, but we have been positive and proactive, and are in a strong position.

“We are building something very different, and something that will last well into the future.

“This has never been done in our industry – this is visionary.”

  • Read about North P&I’s merger plans, the 140th anniversary of its Sunderland Marine business and much more from across the region’s commercial environment in the July/August issue of North East Times Magazine