Choosing the Right Yacht Insurance

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1 Choosing the Right Yacht Insurance

2 Yacht Insurance Superyachts are probably the most advanced and complex assets one can have the privilege of owning. Unquestionably, as a future Owner, you have, probably, listened to the advice of numerous experts on how to develop the yacht of your dreams and have gone over and over every detail in order to assure that you fully understand what the final result will look like. You will be substantially investing in your new yacht and you, most definitely, want to make sure that everything is exactly as you wish for it to be. Are there any limitations on what you can have? Well, certainly there are, but these limitations are becoming narrower with each new delivery. But as yachts become more and more complex, so does their insurance. It used to be simple in the past, but nowadays an Owner must relay on the expertise of specialized yacht insurance brokers. Please allow me to stress this point: a Specialized Yacht Insurance Brokers is more than the linking point between you and the underwriters. In other words, a broker who they have the expertise & experience to tailoring the insurance policy to the exact specifications of your yacht. It is practically impossible to list all the finer points that an Owner should consider when purchasing the insurances of his yacht, so we will only cover the basic issues which would help you understand whether or not the cover that you are offered is the right insurance policy for you. 1 / 11

3 Choosing the Right Yacht Insurance Broker Unlike insurance agents who sell insurance products for the benefit of insurance companies, a yacht insurance broker is an independent consultant acting on behalf and in the best interest of their Clients. Most Owners believe that the job of an insurance broker is to place the insurances of their yacht at the most competitive terms obtained from reputable Insurers. That, however, is only a very small part of the service that a broker should provide, as his real job starts from the moment the yacht s insurances are in place. A knowledgeable broker is able to tailor the terms and conditions of a yacht insurance policy to the specific requirements of both the Owner and the use of his yacht. He is able to consult his Client on the type of insurances he needs (or does not need), as well as of his options in mitigating risk in a manner that optimizes the value of cover and cost of annual premiums. If you come to think about it, almost everything concerning the operation of a yacht is linked to her insurance: - Navigate restrictions - Staffing requirements - Changes in the contracts of the crew - Home port - Use of water toys or scuba gear - Number of passengers on board - Use of the yacht - Yards and repair facilities These are just a few examples of matters affecting the insurance covers of the yacht, for which the broker should be informed and consulted in case any of such changes are required to be made after the policy is in effect. By omitting to do so immediately, you could be risking having a claim rejected and/or your policy cancelled. So, the broker has the duty, throughout the policy period, to ensure that he keeps the Insurers informed and updated with all requested changes as well as all the paperwork in good order. 2 / 11

4 ...Choosing the Right Yacht Insurance Broker In the event a claim occurs, the broker is the one who should be consulting the Client and assisting the Captain. The first hours of an incident are always very stressful. The job of the Captain, at these crucial moments, is to assure that the passengers, crew and vessel are safe, and further damage is averted. The broker should be able to assess the situation and cooperate closely with the Captain in order to assure that the actions taken will result in the smooth handling and settlement of the claim. The latter will also coordinate with the surveyor to make sure that he receives the appropriate information in order to be able to assess the circumstances of the claim and the justification of repairs. Finally, he is the one who will negotiate with Insurers, if required, for the settlement and speedy collection of the claim. The relationship between the Owner, Captain and Yacht Manager, and the insurance broker is an intimate one, and is based on transparency mutual trust! An Owner should expect from his broker to be there for him at anytime, either when his yacht or the Captain needs him, whereas the broker expects from the Owner and Captain to be open and forthcoming with anything that concerns the operation of the yacht or the circumstances regarding incidents (irrespective of whether or not these would lead to claims). 3 / 11

5 Choosing the Right Insurance Products There are numerous parameters that an Owner should consider when selecting the appropriate insurance covers for his yacht, and even more when customizing whether these parameters meet both his requirements and the use of his yacht. As previously explained, there is nobody more qualified to consult him on selecting and tailoring his insurance policies other than his insurance broker. It would be impossible to explain in detail all the different clauses of each insurance policy, so we will provide you with a description of the four (4) most necessary types of cover as well as the purpose of each one. The 4 most necessary types of cover: 1. Hull & Machinery Insurance. 2. Protection & Indemnity Insurance (P&I). 3. War Risks Insurance. 4. Crew Personal Accident and Medical Insurance. 4 / 11

6 Hull & Machinery Insurance Provides cover to the yacht against the physical loss or damage as well as Owners liabilities to third parties. The most widely used wordings for this type of cover is the Institute Yacht Clauses (1/11/85) and the American Yacht Form R12. These wordings have been successfully tried and tested in court for an extensive period of time and numerous cases. Primary coverage: Physical loss of or damage to the yacht caused by perils of the seas, fire, contact, lightning, theft etc. Physical loss of or damage to the yacht engines machinery and equipment caused by heavy weather, negligence, etc. Physical loss of or damage to tenders, dinghies, outboard motors, water toys etc. Owner s liabilities to third parties Owner s liabilities to and/or of water skiers/jet skiers Salvage charges Total Loss or Constructive Total Loss Tips and What to Look for in your Hull & Machinery Insurance Policy: It is highly recommended to insure the Liabilities separately from your Hull & Machinery Insurance, and, therefore, place such risks with a fixed premium Protection and Indemnity Insurer (P&I). Consider where the vessel will be navigating, and, if positive, restrict the cover to these areas (for example, whether you will be using the yacht primarily in Northeast, Bahamas, Gulf etc.), as you may achieve substantial savings on your annual premium by limiting the navigating area. You may always extend the geographic limits as long as you require so. Personal Effects insurance (cover of the personal property of Owners, Guests and Crew) can be obtained as an extension to your Hull & Machinery Insurance at a reasonable cost. Cash in Safe is an add-on to the Hull & Machinery Insurance and provides cover in the event that cash is stolen from within the yacht s safes (Captain s and/or Owners). Malicious Acts should be covered under your Hull and Machinery policy. 5 / 11

7 Protection & Indemnity Insurance (P&I) We believe Protection and Indemnity insurance is the most important coverage for yacht owners. Commonly known as P&I, it protects the Owner, Captain and Managers from third party liabilities that could arise from the ownership or operation of the yacht. Unlike the cover provided from a normal Hull & Machinery policy, a P&I cover is much wider with higher limits of indemnity (a P&I Insurance will provide a cover for a limit of up to $500M USD). But, most importantly, P&I insurers are far more specialized to manage liability claims than their Hull & Machinery counterparts. If an incident occurs, the P&I insurer will take over negotiations with the third parties as well as the legal proceedings on behalf of Owners and will manage the claim s settlement process, putting up, in the meantime, any guarantees required for the release of the yacht if detained following an incident. Primary coverage: 3rd party liabilities for Collision Damage to or loss of property Loss of life Personal Accident for Crew, Passengers or Third Parties General Average Pollution Towage Wreck Removal Repatriation by Reason of Illness, Injury or Disease 6 / 11

8 ...Protection & Indemnity Insurance (P&I) Tips and What to Look for in your Protection & Indemnity Insurance Policy: The Liability coverage offered under a P&I policy is incomparable with the one provided from the Hull and Machinery policy. As an example, P&I cover is including Owners liabilities to passengers and crew, whereas the Hull and Machinery policy does not. The P&I Underwriters, broadly known as P&I Clubs, are specialized in the handling of liability claims, which, some times, can be very complicated and need the attention and know how of expert professionals. It should be always noted in a P&I policy that collision liabilities are covered on basis 4/4ths. Freight, Demurrage & Defense (FD&D) Insurance providing cover against legal costs and legal assistance for a wide range of disputes arising from the owning, operation, sale, purchase or building of a yacht can be obtained as an extension to your Protection & Indemnity Insurance at a reasonable cost. In the event your crew member suffers an accidental bodily injury, illness or even death and needs to be replaced and return home before completion of his/her duties, then the P&I policy will enable you to cover the repatriation costs and expenses. 7 / 11

9 War Risks Insurance Why would I need war insurance? I would never navigate my yacht in any region that is in war... There are many good reasons why you should always have war insurance coverage in place, primarily for the additional protection it offers a Yacht Owner (see list below). As unlikely as it may sound, vessels have been damaged from weapons (such as mines) that broke loose from their hold and drifted by the currents to popular yachting destinations. Unless a War Risks Insurance cover is in place, damages as per the above would not be covered as both the H&M and P&I Insurers generally exclude such damages from their policies, and therefore War Risks Insurance is there in order to fill the gaps those exclusions create. Besides, the cost versus the benefit of such a cover is too small to consider not have. More specifically, such insurance policies cover loss of or damage caused by: War or Civil War Capture, seizure, arrest or detainment Piracy Strikes, Riots and Civil Commotion Derelict mines, torpedoes, bombs or other derelict weapons of War Terrorism Confiscation or expropriation Tips and What to Look for in your War Risks Insurance Policy: Did you know that in the event of a major strike taking place, the damages that may incur to your yacht by the strikers will be covered under your War Insurance policy? In this instance, it is highly recommended to ensure that damages caused to the yacht by strikers, locked-out workmen, terrorists etc. are included in your War Risks Insurance Policy. If your yacht is arrested by a third party due to an accident, which involves bodily injury, the damages which might occur while the yacht is arrested will be covered under the War Risks Insurance Policy. 8 / 11

10 Crew Personal Accident and Medical Insurance Do you want to earn the loyalty of your crew, and retain quality crew members? Then the first thing you have to do is to arrange for your crew to be covered under a Crew Personal Accident and Medical Insurance Policy. This insurance provides cover to crew in respect of bodily injuries caused either by accident or illness. This policy can be used as a supplementary cover to your Protection and Indemnity Insurance Policy (P&I), as by having this kind of insurances in place, you will be able to cover smaller claims and therefore you will not burden your Protection and Indemnity Insurance Policy. Primary coverage: Medical expenses due to illness and accident Death Permanent Total Disablement Temporary Total Disablement Tips and What to Look for in your Crew Personal Accident and Medical Insurance Policy: The majority of the flags require employers/yacht Owners to pay compensation and/or sickness benefits to their crew. Crew medical expenses are generally small amounts which would fall under the crew claims deductible of your P&I policy. In this instance, and as long as a Crew Personal Accident and Medical Insurance Policy is in place, the respective deductible of your P&I policy will be fully covered. In the event that your crew member should be hospitalized or an urgent surgery should be carried out, then Underwriters would directly settle all the necessary expenses making things easier for you, as there would be no need to make any disburse on your behalf to cover these expenses. 9 / 11

11 Conclusion... Although much information is provided in these pages on the subject of insurance, in reality we have barely touched the surface of the topic. Yacht insurance is a rather complicated science. There are numerous interacting variables that influence the insurability of a yacht, so the best advice we can give is: No matter how savvy an owner might be, he should always consult an expert. 10 / 11

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