Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty asked Captain Andrew Kinsey, Senior Risk Consultant, Marine, based in New York, some questions about his first days at the company two weeks into his new job, and about trends in the marine insurance industry.
Capt. Kinsey spent 23 years in the US Merchant Marine and US Naval Reserve, sailing in all licensed ranks, including Master. His sailing experience was primarily with Maersk Lines, sailing as Master of three different Container ships. He also served as Master aboard two Military Sealift Command (MSC), Large Medium Speed RORO (LMSR) ships, the USNS “Sisler” and USNS “Red Cloud.” He served in Operations Desert Shield & Desert Storm, Restore Hope, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and received numerous decorations and awards. He recently assumed the position of chairman of the AIMU subcommittee for technical services and is married with two sons.
Welcome to Allianz, Captain Kinsey, how have your first days been?
My first days have been hectic as would be expected when stepping into the role that I am taking on. I welcome the challenge and look forward to bringing my experience and expertise to the Loss Control Group and supporting underwriters.
You have very extensive seagoing experience: Do you miss going to sea and why did you decide to come ashore?
I miss being at sea every day – I grew up in a seafaring family and keep very close ties with both the men and the ships at sea. That being said, I find my role in loss control to be extremely fulfilling and get ‘the best of both worlds’ by staying connected to the industry and having a positive impact on the friends and family members that I still have at sea. No one wants a safer ship than those who sail aboard them.
I came ashore because of a promise made to my wife before we were married. We dated in high school and she understood the strain that going to sea put on the wife and family of a merchant seaman – she weathered that storm but there was always a timeline in play. Our oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at six years of age and it is very difficult for a part time single parent to raise both an Autistic Child as well as a Neurotypical child. These were all factors that came into play for me coming ashore. Having said that, I have a Freedom 36 Sailing Boat and the entire family enjoys sailing. Recently, we sailed from North Carolina to Maine. Both my wife and I sail competitively. I simply love being on or by the sea; it’s engrained in my blood.
You will be working as a Senior Risk Consultant for Allianz Risk Consultants, based out of the New York office. What will be your major focus?
My major focus as a Senior Marine Consultant will be to support underwriters in the various commercial marine lines. I have been very fortunate in my maritime career to be exposed to a wide range of Marine topics from shipbuilding and conversion to heavy lift and project cargo. I’m still happiest on the front lines working directly with our clients.
What are some of the trends you see in maritime safety? Which of them keeps you up at night?
The growth of vessel size and the reduction in vessel manning is a real concern. The bottom line currently comes to really big ships with really small crews. The environment we operate in has become tougher – we basically need to do more with less. On the bright side that gives us lots of opportunity to raise awareness to risks as maritime risk professionals.
Fatigue is another issue that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is looking at – they might even change the 4 hours on/8 hours off rule that currently applies, as there have been some accidents tied to fatigue.
I have also heard talk about unmanned cargo ships, although in my opinion that’s not taking off yet. In fact, the Japanese tried it 20 years ago and it didn’t work.
What were some of the scariest situations you personally experienced as a captain? Did you ever experience a piracy attack?
While I have had my ships boarded by pirates and have dealt with stowaways, the scariest moments at sea are when the sea itself turned ugly, such as during typhoons or even isolated squalls of 70+ knots in a confined anchorage – those are the times when you need to pull out all the tricks that you learned growing up in the industry to protect crew, cargo and ship.
What one thing would you change in the marine insurance industry?
If there is one thing I would change in the marine insurance industry it would be communication – it is critical that we communicate to the client that loss control is a value added service that is interested in improving their risk profile. We are not looking to blame anyone. We want to help the client get ahead of the curve and sail in calm waters. Sometimes, this may be a challenge. Especially when companies do not have experience working with Risk Consultants. It’s important to create awareness for the risks out there.
More broadly speaking, what’s happening is not that the maritime industry is declining so much as it is that traditional seafaring countries are facing pressures. Since salaries are declining, it becomes less and less attractive as a field of work. What’s important for us to remember is that reduced costs should not equal reduced quality.