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What is P&I Insurance?

P&I stands for Protection and Indemnity. P&I is insurance in respect of third party liabilities and expenses arising from owning ships or operating ships as principals. The risks typically covered by P&I Clubs are described in more detail under Insurance Cover. It is not hull insurance, war risk insurance, loss of profit/freight insurance, detention insurance, strike insurance or uninsured legal expenses (Defence) cover.

What is a Mutual or Club?

An insurance mutual, a Club, provides collective self insurance to its Members. The membership is comprised of a common interest group who wish to pool their risks together in order to obtain "at cost" insurance cover.

The UK P&I Club, as a "not for profit" mutual, is therefore owned by its insureds. As it has no shares to issue, it does not need to make a profit or pay dividends.

The Advantages of Mutuals over Fixed Premium Insurers

Not for profit
  • The P&I Clubs provide at cost insurance without profit. Fixed premium insurers aim to make a profit for their shareholders.
  • Ultimate control of P&I Clubs is in the hands of the shipowner assureds, through elected shipowner boards/committees which decide policies on eg., scope of cover, claims payments, premium calling etc. Ultimate control of a commercial insurer is in the hands of the insurance company, and not the shipowners.
  • P&I Clubs regularly pass back to the shipowner the benefit of a good underwriting year through reduced or returned premiums. Fixed premium insurers are most unlikely to do so.
  • P&I Clubs have existed continuously for more than 140 years. Fixed premium insurers have no convincing track record of commitment to P&I insurance.
Scope of Cover
  • P&I Clubs provide the most comprehensive cover available including the right of the board to cover "omnibus" claims. Fixed premium insurers provide less cover than P&I Clubs.
Letters of Undertaking
  • P&I Clubs' cost-free letters of undertaking are generally accepted worldwide and can be provided without delay. Fixed premium insurers usually require bank guarantees to free ships from arrest, with resulting costs and delays.
Service Philosophy
  • In a P&I Club, the managers are the servants of the Club, dedicated to the provision and development of the service the Club's shipowner members require. Fixed premium insurers are insurance suppliers to shipowner customers.


Liabilities for cargo, crew, passengers, pollution, collision and other such risks.

IG Group

Collectively secures the Group P&I Clubs, advises & represents ship operators on key issues.

P&I History

A century and a half of progress in securing ship operators' liabilities.

Club Overview

How the UK Club works for its international membership.

Club Service

Expertise and experience in support of our Member ship operators around the world.


Information on finances, Members, ships and services.