In addition to the purchasing needs of the technical departments there are other requirements for equipment, maintenance materials and spares. The officers and crew have to be housed and fed and world-wide purchasing requires specialist skills especially in order to achieve maximum economy without skimping. Food can be a particular problem because different nationalities have different eating habits, some of which have to be strictly adhered to. Stores department personnel have to be aware of this and to be sure that adequate supplies of special foods are bought particularly if the ship is trading to an area where such items are unobtainable. Perhaps surprisingly, insurance is a shipowner’s second biggest item of cost so that efficient administration of this activity is very important. Insurance for ships falls into two distinct categories and the most obvious is the insurance against loss or damage to the ship itself; this is referred to as hull and machinery insurance. The most famous provider of this type of insurance is Lloyds of London which is an organization which started in the City of London as long ago as the year 1687. Insurance with Lloyds is provided by individuals known as underwriters who get their name from the way each person accepted a part of the risk by writing his name, one under the other. This system of personal risk exists to this day but the individuals tend to join together into syndicates. Access to the underwriters is only possible through a Lloyds broker who acts on behalf of the shipowner in seeking the best cover possible at the lowest premium which is the money paid by the shipowner to secure the insurance cover. When the broker has obtained sufficient cover it is possible for the contract to be drawn up which is referred to as the insurance policy. The insurance broker’s income is a small percentage of this premium the rest is shared among the underwriters in proportion to the amount of the risk each one has accepted.