Insurance companies on hook for millions tied to Suez Canal crisis

There were potentially thousands of insurance policies taken out on the steel boxes stacked high on the massive boat blocking the Suez Canal and upending world trade. They could result in millions of dollars in payouts — but first, a game of passing the buck.

Taiwan’s Evergreen Line, which chartered the Ever Given, says Japan’s Shoei Kisen Kaisha — the ship’s owner — is responsible for any losses. The shipowner has taken some responsibility but says charterers need to deal with the cargo owners. The Suez Canal’s own policies suggest it’s not to blame, even if its pilots were at the helm of a ship that ran aground.

Regardless, the blockage is set to unleash a flood of claims by everyone affected, from those in the shipping industry to those in the commodities business. Owners of the goods on board the Ever Given and other ships stalled because the fastest waterway connecting Europe to Asia is closed will seek payment from their insurers, if they have one. And the insurers for cargo on board will in turn file claims against Ever Given’s owners, who will turn to their insurers for protection.

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