The district court in Hamburg ordered that Hamburg broker Clausius Marine be put into administration.
Rumours about growing payment arrears by the company to shipowners and claims services providers had been building in recent months, but it is not clear yet what triggered its demise.
Clausius has been serving a few larger and several small and medium-sized owners in the German shipping market, with most of the insurance cover sourced from insurers outside Germany, industry sources said.
As an insurance intermediary, the company has powers of attorney from customers and possibly from insurers as well. It collects the premiums from customers on behalf of insurers but apparently was not able to collect enough from the insurers to settle claims and claims costs by its insured owners.
Clausius’s problems might affect 100-200 ships, but several smaller owners already switched to other brokers this week to put alternative insurance plans in place.