The $1.2 billion Seafarers Retirement Fund (SRF) has narrowed its shortlist of potential insurers down to five and expects to make a final decision within the month.

The fund, which has been self-insuring since inception, put out a tender to nine insurers in March. “Rather than keeping an insurance pool, it’s easier to do it externally,” Glenn Davis, SRF chief executive, said. Davis said that SRF particularly wanted insurance products covering death, total permanent disablement and salary continuance to be available to members through the fund. Member categories catering for sea-going and shore-based maritime workers, who face varying levels of risk and therefore attract different premiums, would be created. The tender coincides with the fund’s transformation from a defined benefit scheme to accumulation fund. “It’s in the best interests of members to offer an accumulation fund, especially on the employer side,”; he said. “We expect accumulation to outperform.” Davis said the fund expected the transition to accumulation and insurance outsourcing to be completed by December.

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