A leader in the green transition: A decade of Gard in Singapore

Gard 2023 Rolf Thore Roppestad, Ceo I Gard

From its humble beginnings in Arendal, Norway, Gard has grown into the world’s largest marine insurer, covering approximately 50 percent of the global merchant fleet for either P&I and/or Marine Hull. As we mark the 10-year anniversary of Gard’s presence in Singapore, we spoke with CEO Rolf Thore Roppestad about the company’s journey, milestones, and future prospects in the Asia-Pacific region. And, of course: The value of NBAS and the Norwegian business community in Singapore.

Can you provide a brief overview of Gard’s history, global presence, and core services within the maritime insurance and risk management sector?
Founded in Arendal, Norway in 1907, Gard was initially established to insure only the liability (P&I) risks of local sailing vessels. Since then, the company has evolved and grown significantly. Over the years, it widened its remit to cover steamships and tankers and eventually expanded into offshore energy and the hull and machinery markets. Today, Gard is the world’s largest marine insurer, insuring approximately 50 percent of the global merchant fleet measured in gross tonnage. With a network of 13 offices across the world, it offers shipowners and operators, shipyards, contractors, and energy companies a breadth and choice of insurance products not available anywhere else in one place.

What factors led Gard to establish an office in Singapore in 2014, and how has this decision contributed to the company’s growth in the Asia-Pacific region?
When Gard opened its Singapore office in 2014, it marked our third regional presence in Asia, following Tokyo and Hong Kong. The expansion underscored our continued commitment to servicing the growing Asian market, which is strategically very important for us. Since then, Gard has seen 10 years of positive growth and development in Singapore. This is thanks to the consistent hard work and positive engagement from our staff, and it also reflects the support and trust shown to us by the maritime community in Singapore and Southeast Asia. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members and clients in the region for their continued support. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Can you highlight some of Gard’s key milestones, innovations and achievements in Singapore over the past decade, specifically in terms of supporting the growth of the maritime cluster and addressing the needs of regional clients?
In 2022, Gard became the largest P&I club in Asia measured by gross tonnage. The same year, Gard also entered into a partnership with the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation in Singapore. Both are milestones reflecting our role as a truly global and leading marine insurer. We want to be there for our members and clients, supporting their needs and covering their emerging risks – both today and tomorrow. Whether it is through developing our products, insuring new risks, or through targeted loss prevention efforts.

How is Gard Singapore positioned at the forefront of the green transition in the maritime industry, particularly through the  collaboration with the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation?
We support a wide range of research and innovation projects aiming to accelerate shipping’s decarbonisation. Our partnership with the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation in Singapore is a key part of this. We partner with them to gain knowledge and to help fund the research and development that will be needed to succeed with the green transition. In 2023, we supported several research projects, including a pilot focusing on ammonia bunkering, and one focusing on onboard carbon capture. Shortly, we will also be involved in a project focusing on crew safety onboard low and zero-emission ships.

What value does Gard Singapore see in its participation in NBAS – including NBAS cycling – and how does it contribute to the broader business community?
We truly appreciate being part of the Norwegian Business Association in Singapore. For Gard, it’s all about mutuality and partnerships – partnerships with our members and clients, with maritime authorities across the world, and with other relevant stakeholders. Being part of NBAS is both meaningful and rewarding, and it gives us a highly valuable network in a key maritime hub. And I know the cycling aspect is highly appreciated, too!