Hamas-Israel: MAT insurance sector in the spotlight

Although the implications for the marine and aviation insurance markets from the escalating tensions between Hamas and Israel remain unclear, concerns remain that the conflagration may yet hamper trade routes and further disrupt operations in the Middle East.

The war that has broken out between Israel and Hamas has so far shuttered one port 10 km north of the border with the Gaza Strip, currently being attacked by the Israel Defense Forces, while international shipping has been cautioned to exercise extreme caution when transiting near the region.

Ashkelon, Israel’s biggest oil terminal, has been closed while military operations are underway and Chevron has also informed that it has been instructed by Israel’s energy ministry to shut down the Tamar natural gas field off the country’s northern coast in the wake of Hamas’s surprise attacks on Saturday.

Other ports – notably Haifa and Ashdod – continue to accept marine traffic.

Meanwhile, several international air carriers said they had suspended flights serving Tel Aviv in light of the Hamas militant attack on Israel and were waiting for conditions to improve before resuming service.

US air carriers United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines said they had suspended direct flights.

Air France, Lufthansa, Emirates and Ryanair also pulled flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.

The pilots’ union for American Airlines has directed its members to refuse to fly to Israel, citing the ongoing war.

Union President Ed Sicher said in an email to members that the company’s pilots should not fly to Israel until they “can be reasonably assured of the region’s safety and security.”