The Founding of Marine Benefits

Marine Benefits was established as a joint venture by Norwegian Hull Club and MHG Associates Ltd. in November 2006, with each partner holding a 50 per cent share in the company. The company’s principal area of business is the provision of benefit policies for individual crewmembers. Such benefits are aimed at enhancing recruitment prospects and retaining crewmembers in the industry.

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Marine Benefits was founded a pure sales/marketing company, and the actual handling of claims was outsourced to other companies. It did not take us long to conclude that the company was a success; the products were already requested by the market and the first deals were sealed only weeks after the company was established. More clients joined us and after being in the market for a year, having met with clients and potential clients, we realised that to be able to deliver the product we were selling without questioning the quality, we had to also be in charge of the service rendered when accidents occur.

Based on that decision we started to plan for the establishment of Marine Benefits Assistance Services Inc. and there were several good reasons for placing the company in the Philippines. The main reason why we thought it was the right decision to start up in Manila was that we had already established good contact with very talented and skilled persons who again could recruit a whole team of qualified staff. First of all we want to be able to assist our clients in the best possible way, and that secured by having Dr. Donna Suarez-Tañag as Executive Vice President of the company. Secondly, it is important for us to keep the premium rates at a fair and reasonable level. To be able to do so and still keep up a high level of quality service, establishing in the Philippines proved sensible. Compared to Norway, the wages in the Philippines are lower, and by placing the company there, we were able to combine lower costs with top quality service.

Thirdly, it is important for Marine Benefits and Norwegian Hull Club to be accessible for our members and present in the marine market. The Philippines play a significant role in the marine industry, not least as a provider of qualified crew, and by having an office in Manila we are in close contact with this market. Marine Benefits Assistance Services Inc. has a staff of 25 people by now, basically doctors, nurses and IT engineers. The office is lead by Dr. Donna Suarez-Tañag, who has several years of both medical and business experience. In addition to claims handling, the office will take care of direct contact with members and other clients through meetings, presentations at officers’ conferences and day-to-day contact like issuing membership cards, statistics and other documents.

Marine Benefits is proud to be a part of the Philippine market and we are convinced that the establishment of Marine Benefits Assistance Services Inc. in Manila will benefit both our clients and ourselves in the short as well as in the long run.

Marine Benefits Assistance Services Inc. Official Opening

On Wednesday 12th March this year the official opening of Marine Benefits’ new office in Manila took place at Makati Shangri-La. More than 70 invited guests were attending the ceremony, which was followed by a dinner. Among the many prominent guests we were honoured to have His Excellency Ståle Torstein Risa – Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines to carry out the formal opening of the office. In his speech he underlined the positive development of Norwegian investment in the Philippines and he emphasised the importance of Marine Benefits’ contribution to the economical safety of Philippine seafarers and their families, and not least the contribution to recruitment of loyal quality crew to the shipping companies. 

Present at the opening were also Chairmen of Marine Benefits and MHG Marine, as well as the Presidency of Marine Benefits
and Norwegian Hull Club. In addition we had the great pleasure of having guests from many substantial Shipping Companies, of
which several international shipping companies that have established business in Manila. There was a long list of people who wanted to say some words in connection with the opening, and there was no doubt that the initiative in the Philippines was warmly welcomed. Mr. Ivar Hanestad, President of Marine 5 Benefits Assistance Services Inc. & Marine Benefits Services A, gave opening remarks as well as a short introduction to the company and the employees. Mr. John Wiik, CEO of Norwegian Hull Club spoke on behalf of the Club.

Mr. Wiik and Mr. Hanestad were both very pleased with the entry into the Philippine market, which they see as an important and not least long-term step for both Marine Benefits and Norwegian Hull Club. They were also proud to present a competent and qualified service-minded staff that will take care of the members and clients in the professional way that Marine Benefits and Norwegian Hull Club are known for. The evening ended with dinner and cocktails, accompanied by lovely music by local musicians. Marine Benefits Assistance Services Inc. wants to take this opportunity to thank all our guests for participating at the opening. We are certain that the company in Manila will help us maintain a good relationship with all of you for years to come! 


1. Jun. 2008