Lloyd’s of London, Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) and a group of Lloyd’s syndicates, alongside other major insurance companies, have underwritten a bespoke policy to cover one of the most challenging polar expeditions ever undertaken.
Billed as “The Coldest Journey”, Sir Ranulph Fiennes will lead a team of five other explorers who will set out to cross Antarctica in the winter.
The crossing has previously been considered too dangerous to attempt but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has granted permissions on the grounds that technological innovations could mitigate some of the major risks.
In addition, the FCO required evidence of adequate insurance cover to ensure that the Antarctic environment would be protected.
Tony Medniuk, chairman of the expedition’s board of trustees, and a leading figure in the London insurance market comments: “This is the insurance market at its very best and insurance broking at its most creative.
“JLT have worked with us for many months to design the cover and bring the risk to the market, finding a leading Lloyd’s underwriter in Beazley and placing it in the co-insurance market.”
The policy covers search and rescue and the cost of remediating any potential damage to the Antarctic environment, such removing abandoned or broken down equipment.
The expedition will make the traverse driving two specially adapted caterpillar tractors that will pull two converted cabooses – home to the team’s dormitory, workshop and science laboratory – as well as supplies and fuel.
Team members will ski ahead of the vehicles with crevasse detection equipment.
Some 100 tonnes of equipment left London last week and is now en route to the Antarctic where it arrives in late January 2013.
The 4,000 km traverse gets underway in March and will see the explorers spend 273 days on the ice, mostly in complete darkness, and in temperatures possibly as low as minus 90 degrees Celsius.