American Steamship Owners Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association, Inc. (the American Club) was established in New York in 1917. It is the only mutual Protection and Indemnity Club domiciled in the United States – indeed, in the entire Americas.
The Club is a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs, a collective of thirteen mutuals which together provide Protection and Indemnity insurance for some 90% of all world shipping.
Protection and Indemnity insurance (commonly referred to as "P&I") provides cover to shipowners and charterers against third-party liabilities encountered in their commercial operations. Responsibility for damage to cargo, for pollution, for the death, injury or illness of passengers or crew and for damage to docks and other installations are examples of typical exposures.
Running in parallel with a ship's hull and machinery cover, traditional P&I such as that offered by the American Club distinguishes itself from ordinary forms of marine insurance by being based on the not-for-profit principle of mutuality where Members of the Club are both the insurers and the assureds.
As a consequence, the breadth of cover offered by the American Club is unsurpassed in its range. The Club's insurance conditions are contained in its Rules. These are divided into three Classes covering Protection and Indemnity, Freight, Demurrage and Defense (FD&D), and insurance for charterers' risks. There exists also a discretionary power vested in the Club's Board of Directors who, as is typically the case with P&I mutuals, are representatives of the Club's Members.
The limits of cover available from the American Club reflect its membership of the International Group. For mutual P&I entries, cover of up to $1 billion for claims in respect of oil pollution is available, $3 billion for passenger and crew claims (with a sub-limit of $2 billion for passenger claims) and about $8 billion for all other claims. Limits of cover for Freight, Demurrage and for Defense and charterers' risks are offered at lower levels of indemnity, subject to negotiation in individual cases.
The American Club is subject to regulation by the New York State Financial Services Department, widely recognized to be the most demanding licensing authority in the United States. It requires detailed reporting, exceptional transparency and robust security. In addition to providing quarterly statements to New York State regulators in accordance with their statutory demands, the Club also publishes an annual report in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) providing for easy comparison with other Group clubs.
As of early 2015, the American Club continues to build upon the traditions of its long history. Its total tonnage stands at some 15 million gross tons for P&I risks and at about 10 million gross tons for FD&D, with gross premium income of some $95 million. The Club's statutory free reserves are about $65 million – its funds under investment having grown exponentially in recent years – and its claims costs have been in decline in recent years. Its free reserves per ton are above the average for International Group clubs as a whole.
The American Club has been successful in recent years in building on its US heritage to create a truly international insurer with a global reach second-to-none in the industry. Day to day management of the American Club is provided by Shipowners Claims Bureau, Inc. from their headquarters in New York. Additional resources are provided by SCB's subsidiary offices in London, Piraeus, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. In addition to the resources of the Managers, the Association's worldwide network of independent claims correspondents is available to Members around the clock.
Above all, the American Club seeks to commend itself to prospective Members through its commitment to personalized service, a "can-do" attitude of mind and an enthusiasm to achieve the very best of business results for Members both large and small.