On 22 July, Luke Readman, Chairman of Thomas Miller P&I Ltd, retires after nearly forty years of service to the Members of the UK P&I Club.
He hands over leadership to current chief executive Hugo Wynn-Williams, who will be supported by deputy chairman Nigel Carden.
Readman is renowned in the P&I industry as an oil pollution specialist after handling major claims for the UK Club such as the 230,000dwt VLCC Haven, which caught fire and sank off Genoa in 1991. The case was finally resolved by a tri-partite settlement agreement between the Italian State, the IOPC Fund and the Owners/Club. Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989, he was heavily involved on behalf of the International Group of P&I Clubs in the protracted process of implementation of the US Oil Pollution Act 1990. The lengthy saga of Certificates of Financial Responsibility (COFRs) under OPA 90 culminated in 1996 with the creation of the Shipowners Insurance and Guaranty Company (SIGCo) of which he was one of the chief architects. SIGCo now provides COFR guaranties for about two thirds of the ships trading to the US.
A barrister and Oxford classics graduate, Readman joined Thomas Miller in 1971. From an early stage he was involved with the Club’s business in Asia. He pioneered the development of P&I business in mainland China during the early 1980s, establishing the UK Club as the earliest provider of P&I cover to China Ocean Shipping Co Group (COSCO). He was also instrumental in setting up the first overseas branch of the UK Club in Japan in 1989.
He became a partner of Thos R Miller & Son in 1982, and joined the board of Thomas Miller Holdings in 2004.
Apart from the UK P&I Club, Readman also spent some time in Thomas Miller's professional indemnity division, working within the UK based mutuals such as BMIF - the liability insurer for barristers in England and Wales. In that period, he was closely involved in the establishment of the Occupational Pensions Defence Union (OPDU) to insure pension trustee liabilities arising from developments in UK pensions legislation.
Readman returned to P&I in 2001. He was appointed chairman of Thomas Miller P&I in 2004 and has led the P&I management team continuously since then. He leaves the UK P&I Club showing free reserves and capital at 20 February 2011 of $487 million, an all time high.
"A fundamental strength of the mutual system is that the Club is governed by a Board composed of representatives of the Members. It has been a privilege to work with the Board of the UK P&I Club over so many years and I have thoroughly enjoyed helping them to meet and resolve the many and varied challenges we have faced over that time.
Although the insurance business of the Club has become increasingly technical, especially in recent years, P&I Clubs are still all about relationships. For me, working with Members to understand and find solutions to their problems has always been the most satisfying part of the job.
The UK Club management, operating from our global office network, has an unrivalled spread of knowledge and experience. I am very confident that, led by Hugo Wynn-Williams, the management team will respect the very best traditions of our Club as it takes the Club forward successfully to meet the challenges of the future."