A rich heritage
Thomas Miller has a rich heritage reaching back over 125 years.
It all began in 1885 when our founder, the ship owner Thomas Robson Miller, took over the United Kingdom Steam Ship Protection Association (now known as the UK P&I Club). The business then grew through the decades, bringing management expertise to mutual businesses, helping to launch new mutual Clubs and developing a global network to service clients all over the world.
More recently, Thomas Miller has launched a number of privately owned businesses to create a diverse portfolio of businesses covering the insurance, investment and professional services sectors.
1885 – Thomas Robson Miller takes over the management of the United Kingdom Mutual Steam Ship Protection Association
Thomas Robson Miller joins Lamploughs to run the United Kingdom Mutual Steam Ship Protection Association. The Club had 600,000 tons entered and members paid two old pennies per ton, giving the Club an income of some £5,000! Real Victorian value…
1889 - The Club begins to insure against indemnity risks
It now became a Protection & Indemnity (or P&I) Club. These indemnity risks were principally cargo claims and customs fines.
1894 – Thomas Miller takes over the running of Lamploughs
Thomas and his son, Harry, formed a partnership, Thos. R. Miller & Son, and took over the sole management of the UK P&I Club from the Lamploughs in 1894.
1899 – UK P&I Club provided P&I insurance for over 800,000 tons of ships
With an entered tonnage now exceeding 800,000 tons, the UK P&I Club was the largest mutual that existed in the UK at the time. As the name suggests, the majority of the UK P&I Club’s clients were British ships, but there were vessels from other countries on the Club’s books as well.
1902 – Thomas Miller moves to Great St Helens
The firm moved to larger premises in Great St Helens, a narrow street with many corners, between Bishopsgate and St Mary Axe.
1909 – Thomas Miller moves again: to St Mary Axe
Seven years after moving to Great St Helens, the firm moved offices to 24 St Mary Axe where it remained until 1980, just around the corner (a mere 300m) from where Thomas Miller has its offices today on Fenchurch Street.
1913 – Harry Miller founds the United Kingdom Mutual War Risks Association Ltd
The United Kingdom Mutual War Risks Association Ltd (now known as UK War Risks Club) was formed to insure British flag ships and their crews against war risks. During the First World War, the Club insured some 20 per cent of the British flag ships involved in supporting the war effort. Thomas Miller continues to manage this club today
1918 – Harry Miller's son, Dawson, joins Thos. R. Miller & Son
Dawson Miller left the Royal Navy at the end of WWI and became a barrister; subsequently joining his father in the management of the UK P&I Club and the UK War Risks Club.
1924 – Dawson Miller takes over the management of the firm
Dawson Miller, grandson of Thomas Miller, became the new senior partner in the firm at the same time as the total insured tonnage surpassed the 5m ton point – a 600 % increase in just 25 years.
1937 – Thomas Miller takes over the management of the United Kingdom Freight Demurrage & Defence Association
Dawson Miller oversaw the take-over of the United Kingdom Freight Demurrage & Defence Association (known today as the UK Defence Club) which had been set up in 1880 and was being run by a firm of solicitors in Newcastle.
1939-45 – Second World War
The UK War Risks Club again becomes the firm’s most active Club. The majority of Thomas Miller’s employees are moved to Walton-on-Thames to avoid the bombing of London.
1953 – Dawson Miller’s brother, Cyril, joins Thomas Miller
Cyril Miller had served with the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War and had then become a noted barrister specialising in admiralty cases. In the Second World War he joined the SOE, flying agents into occupied France and Belgium.
1955 – Cyril Miller’s son, Peter, joins the ‘Lloyd’s Department’
Having qualified as a barrister, Peter Miller (later Sir Peter Miller, Chairman of Lloyds between 1986 and 1990) joined the firm.
1955 – Thomas R Miller & Son (Insurance) Ltd incorporated
The "Lloyds Department" was incorporated as Thomas R Miller & Son (Insurance) Ltd, and from then on run as a wholly separate insurance broking business. Thomas Miller has no financial investment in the broking firm which is now renamed Miller Insurance, although our businesses are major clients of theirs.
1960 – Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association set up
At the request of the Greek shipping community, Thomas Miller developed the Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association, which we still manage today, to provide War Risks insurance for Greek beneficially owned ships.
1964 – Miller family manage three P&I Clubs at the same time
Cyril and Dawson Miller had for some time been the principal partners of Thomas Miller's competitor, Charles Taylor, manager of the Standard P&I Club. In this year they were also appointed the caretaker managers of the West of England P&I Club, although this arrangement lasted a relatively short time.
1967 – UK P&I Club reaches 30m tons
The UK P&I Club surpasses this landmark, and now has over 170 employees.
1968 – TT Club formed
The Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association (now known simply as the TT Club) was created to cater for the needs of the growing container industry. For 25 years this was jointly managed by Thomas Miller with Charles Taylor and the West of England P&I Club.
1969 – UK P&I Club, TT Club and Hellenic War Risks Club incorporated in Bermuda
The international membership of these clubs no longer wished their funds to be subject to United Kingdom exchange controls which had come into force following the devaluation of the Sterling in 1967.
1970 – The Miller era slowly draws to a close
Dawson Miller retired, followed shortly by his brother Cyril. Michael Miller, Cyril's son, continued as a partner running the War Risk mutuals until 1990. The only remaining family connection today is Mark Holford, Thomas Miller's CSR Director, who is married to Cyril's daughter Sarah (who continues the family tradition as a shipping barrister).
1980 – Thomas Miller moves to International House
With some 280 employees, the old offices at St Mary Axe had been outgrown. International House had been the HQ for supermarket group, International Stores. At the time the firm also had 100 or so staff in the accountancy and computer division located in Cockfosters on the outskirts of London. In 1983 they too moved into International house.
1985 - Transport Intermediaries Mutual (TIM) is formed
In response to demand from the industry, Transport Intermediaries Mutual (TIM) is formed to insure the professional indemnity risks of businesses such as ship brokers, ship agents, club correspondents etc. TIM is a part of what is now ITIC - see 1992 below.
1986 – Solicitors Indemnity Mutual Insurance Association Limited (SIMIA) created
The Solicitors Indemnity Mutual Insurance Association, known as SIMIA, was formed to provide top-up insurance for solicitors' professional indemnity risks above the £1m limit of the Solicitors' Indemnity Fund, at the time the sole provider of such insurance to solicitors.
1987 – Airline Mutual Insurance (AMI) formed
At the request of IATA, Thomas Miller set up AMI, a mutual for airlines. It wrote only a 5% line of airlines’ hull and liability risks and ceded most of this to reinsurers. AMI also had no role in either claims handling or marketing. Despite initial success, the operation was wound down in 1993.
1987 – Housing Association Mutual Insurance Association Ltd founded
Thomas Miller created Housing Association Mutual Insurance Association Ltd (known as HAMIA) to insure the professional indemnity risks of the in-house design teams of housing associations.
1987 – Formation of the Bar Mutual (BMIF)
The Bar Mutual was founded with the support of the Bar Council as a compulsory scheme to insure the professional negligence risks of all barristers in England and Wales. It continues to do this today.
1988 – Surveyors' Mutual Insurance Association was formed
SURMIA provided professional indemnity cover for the major property surveyors. Sadly it became a casualty of the property crash in the early 1990's and was wound up.
1989 – Housing Associations' Property Mutual (HAPM) was formed
HAPM was founded to insure Housing Associations’ property risks with a 35 year policy for latent structural and non-structural construction defects. This mutual today is in 'run off' as a result of changes to the requirements of the social housing market.
1989 – PAMIA founded
PAMIA today continues to insure the professional negligence risks of almost all UK based patent agents
1990 – The UK P&I Club takes over the Sunderland P&I Club
The Sunderland P&I Club was one of the oldest but smallest P&I Clubs in the UK. When it decided to stop underwriting, it asked the UK P&I Club to take over their business. Thomas Miller took on their employees and created a claims syndicate in Sunderland. This office was closed in 2000.
1992 – Formation of International Transport Intermediaries Club
The Transport Intermediaries Mutual negotiated a merger with the only other club to insure ship agents' professional indemnity risks – CISBA - creating International Transport Intermediaries Club (now known as ITIC).
1997 – Creation of Occupational Pensions Defence Union
Occupational Pensions Defence Union (known as OPDU) was formed to insure the professional risks of trustees of occupational pension funds. today it provides such insurance for the trustee of Pension fund schemes with funds in excess of £180bn
1999 – Thomas Miller dismantles partnership structure
Thomas Miller had been run as a partnership since the firm’s foundation. This radical change led to the incorporation of Thomas Miller as a private company issuing shares to many of its employees. This is the structure that is in existence today.
2000 – Thomas Miller invests in ShipServ
In October 2000 Thomas Miller was one of the first investors in ShipServ, which had been started in Dec 1999. It has remained an investor ever since, during which time ShipServ has become one of the very few "dotcom" businesses in shipping to survive. It has grown to be the world's largest e-market place for ships' spares and supplies. Thomas Miller has one representative on the Board.
2004 – BLP becomes wholly owned by Thomas Miller
BLP was started in 1999 to insure property long-term defects, building on the experience gained from HAPM - see 1989. The business began as a joint venture as Thomas Miller did not have all the expertise necessary to run the business alone. In 2004 Thomas Miller bought out the other 50% shareholder so that it became a wholly owned subsidiary. Those people who had previously worked for that shareholder on BLP's business became employed by Thomas Miller.
2005 – Thomas Miller Investment starts selling to non-Club clients
This was a land-mark for Thomas Miller Investment, which for 50 years had only managed the funds of our Clubs. The Board took the decision that the business would be stronger if it diversified into managing non-Club clients' money. Today more than half of the funds under management belong to third party clients.
2007 – Thomas Miller Claims Management formed
Thomas Miller Claims Management was started to provide a claims handling solution, offering both existing and new clients claims handling expertise in areas where we had not traditionally offered our services. To be cost-effective its offices were located outside London in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, so returning to the North East of England - where both our Founder, Thomas Miller, and the UK P&I Club, originally came from.
2007 – Thomas Miller PI becomes adviser to TheJudge, “After The Event” insurance
Over its history, Thomas Miller has built deep expertise in the handling of litigation. Thomas Miller Professional Indemnity had been set up to manage our non-transport professional indemnity businesses. It was an obvious extension of our business for it to apply that expertise to assessing the outcome of complex litigation so that underwriters could price the risk. Their very successful track record since has underlined its success.
2008 - Thomas Miller moves to 90 Fenchurch Street
With over 400 employees in London, International House had ceased to be suitable as the headquarters of our business. Built in the 1980's, the building at 90 Fenchurch Street has been completely refurbished to our requirements. It is only our fourth home in the City of London; all four of our London homes have been within 500 metres of each other.
2008 – CODAL is founded
Seeing a gap in the charity sector and to complement our management of charity funds, we founded CODAL.
2010 – Thomas Miller celebrates 125 years
2013 - Thomas Miller Acquire Broadstone Wealth Management
Broadstone provides wealth management services to private clients, pension funds, charities and companies.
2015 - Thomas Miller Law formed
In September the partners and staff of specialist marine law firm Davies Johnson & Co are acquired. Thomas Miller Law offers a fresh alternative to large, traditional firms in the marine legal sector.
2016 – Thomas Miller Specialty launched
In December 2015 Thomas Miller acquired Osprey Holdings Limited, a fixed premium marine underwriter. In 2016 Thomas Miller Specialty became the new trading name for Osprey Underwriting.