SHIPS TO HAITI, GEORGIA CONSIDERED WAR RISKS

SHIPS TO HAITI, GEORGIA CONSIDERED WAR RISKS

London hull underwriters who insure ships against war risks have added the former Soviet republic of Georgia and Haiti to the list of excluded areas.

This means that insurance coverage for any ships trading within the territorial waters of those two countries will have to be renegotiated. Shipowners will be required to pay an additional war risk premium beginning Wednesday.The Lloyd's Underwriters Association and the Institute of London Underwriters have informed Lloyd's brokers that insurance contracts containing a cancellation or amendment clause will not be valid after Nov. 3 with regards to coverage in Georgia and Haiti.

The decision to add Georgia, including the breakaway province of Abkhazia, and Haiti to the list of excluded areas was made Monday by the Joint War Committee that represents marine underwriters in the Lloyd's of London and Institute of London Underwriters markets.

Other areas for which war risk coverage must be negotiated individually include the northern reaches of the Persian Gulf, Angola, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Ethiopia, the Gulf of Aqaba, Somalia, Zaire, Liberia and territories within the former Yugoslavia except for Slovenia.

Last month, a committee of London underwriters that offer cargo insurance to protect against strikes, riots and civil disruptions recommended raising tenfold the minimum rate charged for such coverage on transporting goods to and from Haiti.

The War Risk Rating Committee, which represents major London cargo underwriters including Lloyd's, recommended in late October that the lowest rate charged for covering goods to and from Haiti jump to 0.25 percent of the cargo's value, up from 0.025 percent.

The recommendation followed an increase in civil unrest and political instability in Haiti. The military regime controlling Haiti has blocked President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's return to power, which was to have taken place Saturday under an accord signed by the Clinton administration and Haitian military leaders last summer. U.S. Navy ships are patrolling the coast to enforce an embargo of oil and arms shipments to the country.