Q&A with Vibeke Kofoed

By Vibeke Kofoed, Association of Average Adjusters (AMD)

In a nutshell, how would you describe the main role of the International Association of Average Adjusters (AMD)?

To promote the average adjusting profession and to ensure that the principles of good professional conduct and sound practice are maintained by its members, as well as encouraging uniformity in the practice. Also, to facilitate the study of laws, rules, usages and customs of General Average and marine insurance and knowledge sharing.


What is the biggest challenge facing the AMD today?  

The biggest challenge is the declining use of average adjusters’ expertise and knowledge. Underwriters have wisely educated their employees and thus enabled them to perform the work of an average adjusters in some cases. However I think that shipowners must realise that in-house claims adjusters of insurance companies do not always have the same view on claims as independent average adjusters would have. Marine insurance is not always black and white, and a more holistic view on complicated cases is often appropriate. There is a wealth of experience to be tapped as adjusters deal with a multitude of cases and various insurance conditions, putting them in a better position to assist all parties. Both to clarify what the extent and limitations of a cover are and to seek workable and fair solutions if a case does fall out of the ordinary, and also in cases where substantial documentation requires detailed examination.


How does the AMD and IUMI work together?

AMD and IUMI work together in different ways. AMD is an affiliate member of IUMI and vice versa, and the liaison officer and the present president of AMD usually attends the annual IUMI conference. This year they also had the opportunity to attend the Ocean Hull Committee meeting and the Cargo Committee meeting, both as observers. Furthermore, Phil Norwood was invited to the General Assembly of AMD in Engers, Germany, and in his position of chair of the Salvage Forum and secretary of the Offshore Energy Committee he kindly delivered an interesting paper on IUMI.


Is there anything that you would like to see underwriters do differently or better?

I often see that shipowners are surprised that various parts of their claims are not covered by their insurance companies. Some may have unrealistic expectations due to a lack of knowledge, but sometimes it seems that the insurance product does not meet the expectations. Perhaps the underwriters and/or brokers could be better at clarifying the coverage and the exceptions.


Do you have a view on the current state of the marine insurance market?  

It is rather difficult as it is not easy to make money in marine insurance. We have had a long period of very low premiums and too many players in the market. During the last year or so there seems to have been some improvement, the number of insurance companies have reduced and the premiums are going up. 


If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing in the shipping industry what would it be?

That more shipowners would remember to insert the Average Adjusters’ Clause in their insurance contracts, as this gives them the opportunity to decide to bring in an average adjuster to assist in a casualty and the underwriters would accept that.


If you were not in your current role what would be your ideal job?

I have completed training as a professional board member and am working towards being elected onto boards in interesting Danish companies. I would like to invest more energy into this area.


What do you like doing when not working?   

Many different things such as walking my Newfoundland dog, cooking, reading books, hiking, yoga and meditating – to mention just a few.