The deal will provide combined premium income of £309.2m

North of England P&I Association (North) and Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Company (SMMI) are to merge after members voted in favour of the proposal.

The terms were approved at a general meeting on 16 January 2014.

The deal follows a strategic alliance that was initiated in January 2012 between the two companies, and the merger is expected to be completed by 21 February 2014.

The combined premium income of the two organisations is currently about $511m (£309.2m). On completion of the merger, SMMI will operate as a subsidiary of North.

SMMI chief executive Geoff Parkinson and directors Trevor Hart and Peter Johnson will join North’s board once the deal is complete.

North chairman Pratap Shirke said: “I am delighted our members have voted in favour of the merger. Combining our business interests into one group will create one of the largest global marine insurance operations, providing enhanced financial stability for Members, a greater diversity of product lines, ensured service excellence and a stronger competitive position.”

SMMI chairman Trevor Hart said: “The merger combines North’s international portfolio of high quality, larger tonnage with SMMI’s wide spread of high-volume, small-tonnage risks and aquaculture expertise. Together we will offer a more diverse product range, identify and develop new sources of business income and provide greater levels of service and security to all members and policyholders of the combined operation.”