Top marine insurance broker Vittorio De Gaspari is to become a buyer with a move to the tanker and bulker owning Scorpio group.
De Gaspari parted company with leading protection-and-indemnity broker PL Ferrari in June with his future the subject of extensive speculation ever since.
TradeWinds understands he has been unable to overcome a non-compete agreement with PL Ferrari so sought a berth outside insurance broking.
De Gaspari, who ran PL Ferrari’s Piraeus office for 16 years, was a star broker with close connections with many leading Greek shipowners, so there was no shortage of potential employers.
At Scorpio, he will be involved in the risk management and organisation of insurance for a fleet of about 160 ships totalling more than 11 million dwt. But he will not be head of the department as Petroula Karagianni, a well-regarded figure in Greek marine insurance circles, was recently recruited to replace Rocco Bozzelli.
Bozzelli quit to join 24 Vision Shipping Risk Solutions, a relatively new risk consulting and broking concern set up by Martin Lanting, the insurance entrepreneur who made a fortune from RaetsMarine.
There is speculation in Greece that De Gaspari is still in dispute with PL Ferrari, which was acquired by the big US insurance broking outfit Lockton Companies at the start of last year.
Market sources tell TradeWinds that it may take De Gaspari and PL Ferrari up to three years to fully disengage their contractual relationship, but ongoing obligations will not restrict his ability to work for a shipowner.
De Gaspari, 55, worked for the Steamship Mutual P&I Club and shipowning and managing companies before joining PL Ferrari in 2001.
Karagianni had been a risk manager for George Economou’s Cardiff Marine and Evangelos Marinakis’ Capital Ship Management in Greece before moving to the Middle East to join ship demolition buyer GMS and Qatar-based Al Koot Insurance & Reinsurance as an underwriter.
De Gaspari is expected to be named as an insurance manager and relocate to Scorpio’s main Monaco office, where Karagianni is already in business as insurance director.
Both are regarded as very experienced and competent insurance executives.
Scorpio is a former client of PL Ferrari and continues to have a good relationship with Giulio Rubesa, who runs its Monaco office.
But Scorpio’s broker of record in recent times has been Aon, with responsibilities for both hull and P&I cover.
Swiss Re and Gard lead the hull insurance for many Scorpio vessels.
Scorpio founder and chief executive Emanuele Lauro is a shipowner director of the Standard Club, with the group also members of the Steamship Mutual, Britannia and West of England clubs.