US Bridge Collapse May See Biggest Marine Insurance Payout: Report

The collapse of a major Baltimore bridge after a cargo ship smashed into it could bring about the largest marine insurance payout ever, the boss of insurance giant Lloyd’s of London said in an interview Thursday.

“It feels like a very substantial loss, potentially the largest-ever marine insured loss, but not outside parameters that we plan for,” chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown told CNBC.

“We’re beginning to deploy resources in anticipation of this being a very substantial claim for the industry,” he added.

Six of an eight-man construction crew are believed to have been killed in the incident, which took place in the early hours of Tuesday.

With vessel traffic at the Port of Baltimore suspended after the accident, experts have warned of knock-on economic effects, especially locally.

Baltimore is the biggest vehicle-handling port in the country, including cars and heavy farm equipment, according to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. About $100 to $200 million in value comes through the port daily.

Apart from thousands of workers at the port, Maryland Governor Wes Moore warned in an earlier interview that over 140,000 people could be indirectly impacted by disruptions.

Carnegie-Brown told CNBC that there would be claims for the ship, cargo and the bridge, but it is the “second-order impacts” that would become substantial.

“A lot of business is going to be interrupted,” he said, noting that supply chains would be disrupted by ships trapped inside the port and those initially trying to gain access.

“Those second order effects will take some time to work through,” he added.

A US government supply chain disruptions task force met on Wednesday to discuss the potential impacts on regional and national supply chains, following the bridge collapse, said a White House statement.

Since the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, “the White House and federal agencies have engaged extensively with industry, ocean carriers, ports and labor unions to minimize disruptions as shipments are rerouted while the Port of Baltimore is closed to ship traffic,” the White House added.

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