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Old 15-07-2015, 14:35   #1
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International Marine Insurance Services

In the middle of a bad experience with this company, which I hope will be resolved.

Their business practices leave something to be desired.

I am in the process of insuring my new boat. I went through the application process as anyone normally would and they found an insurer (Seaworthy Insurance).

As is normal, they requested me to send in an $850 payment to bind the coverage, with my money order made out to Seaworthy Insurance.

As it turns out, they did not even have a yes from the underwriters before they had me send in $850 to "bind coverage" on a policy they sent me, but that didn't actually exist since it was never approved.

This was just a dummy, boiler plate policy they sent me to make payment on, with absolutely no approval from the underwriters at Seaworthy.

Now I have $850 gone, tied up in a money order, which I cannot get back yet, I need insurance in case my boat falls off the travelift by Tuesday, because that's when we launch.

It would appear IMIS has completely screwed me by having me send in payment on a non existent policy.

I'm very upset. I do hope they have a save for this situation, but all they said so far is they will send my paperwork back tomorrow when the assistant is in.

To me, this was an extremely unprofessional experience, making me send payment in before there was a policy, yet sending me a generic boilerplate policy claiming it was the one I was paying for.

Isn't that actually fraud?
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Old 15-07-2015, 14:59   #2
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

I didn't quite understand your post. Has Seaworthy denied coverage, or is there simply a delay?
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Old 15-07-2015, 15:01   #3
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

If the money order is made out to "Seaworthy" then IMIS cannot use that cash, and "Seaworthy" would only cash it upon accepting a contract. Did you ask for expedited service from IMIS because of your impending haulout?

"Fraud" is a harsh (and potentially dangerous) term to use - and since your money is not gone, but bound in a process, it might be somewhat early in the process to bandy that about.

Has IMIS told you that Seaworthy won't be issuing a policy?
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Old 15-07-2015, 15:13   #4
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

My experience with IMIS is completely different. First, I have never been asked to pay out my insurance bill directly to the provider of my coverage. IMIS is a broker so they always take a bit off the top. I have always paid my bill directly to IMIS via their very convenient online payment system.

Are we talking about the same IMIS in Annapolis?

I have complete faith that IMIS will come through for you. Who issued the money order?
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Old 15-07-2015, 15:29   #5
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

Yeah... i know, they have a good reputation, which is why I used them... based on this forum, actually.


a recap:

Yes, IMIS in MD.
Applied online.
Worked with an agent who I won't name to be nice to her, over the phone.
She sent me a policy from Seaworthy to review with my specific coverage.
We discussed specifics and did the usual tweaks.
Sent all info.
She then requested payment to bind the policy we reviewed.
I sent payment last week, as instructed, made out to Seaworthy.
Today, she emails me saying the underwriters at Seaworthy are not insuring the boat.

My big issue here is that IMIS sent me a fake policy and then requested payment before having the real policy in hand. When it comes to US Mail and insurance type stuff, my understanding is that this is actually fraud, even if I'm not going to be a jerk about it.

I would like a resolution, however. I hope she can come up with something tomorrow.

There will be a follow up post to be sure.

I'll post the outcome, which I hope will be a pleasant one.

It should be known that they send out fake policies and request payment before they have approval from the underwriters at specific insurers, though.
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Old 15-07-2015, 16:21   #6
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2hullvenus View Post
Yeah... i know, they have a good reputation, which is why I used them... based on this forum, actually.


a recap:

Yes, IMIS in MD.
Applied online.
Worked with an agent who I won't name to be nice to her, over the phone.
She sent me a policy from Seaworthy to review with my specific coverage.
We discussed specifics and did the usual tweaks.
Sent all info.
She then requested payment to bind the policy we reviewed.
I sent payment last week, as instructed, made out to Seaworthy.
Today, she emails me saying the underwriters at Seaworthy are not insuring the boat.

My big issue here is that IMIS sent me a fake policy and then requested payment before having the real policy in hand. When it comes to US Mail and insurance type stuff, my understanding is that this is actually fraud, even if I'm not going to be a jerk about it.

I would like a resolution, however. I hope she can come up with something tomorrow.

There will be a follow up post to be sure.

I'll post the outcome, which I hope will be a pleasant one.

It should be known that they send out fake policies and request payment before they have approval from the underwriters at specific insurers, though.
I don't know enough about the facts to take any particular position, but I am doubtful that the agency or underwriter sent you what you call a "fake" policy. It may instead have been a sample policy that is close to what would ultimately be issued, but only upon your satisfaction of certain contingencies, for e.g. a credit check & survey. Receipt of your payment may have been another one of these contingencies, but subject to a full refund I would imagine should they decline to issue you a policy. Again, it's hard to say, but perhaps this was not properly explained to you. If time is of the essence as you say, then maybe making payment by CC and having them e-mail the policy would serve you better.

I also hope for a pleasant outcome.
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Old 15-07-2015, 19:13   #7
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exile View Post
I don't know enough about the facts to take any particular position, but I am doubtful that the agency or underwriter sent you what you call a "fake" policy. It may instead have been a sample policy that is close to what would ultimately be issued, but only upon your satisfaction of certain contingencies, for e.g. a credit check & survey. Receipt of your payment may have been another one of these contingencies, but subject to a full refund I would imagine should they decline to issue you a policy. Again, it's hard to say, but perhaps this was not properly explained to you. If time is of the essence as you say, then maybe making payment by CC and having them e-mail the policy would serve you better.

I also hope for a pleasant outcome.
Well, they sent an entire policy with all of my information, coverage amounts, deductibles, etc, to me.

Then, they requested payment to bind coverage.

This isn't my first rodeo. 5th boat.

When you send payment to bind coverage, it binds the second your funds have cleared.., assuming you are sending a payment for a real policy.

Thanks to divorce, my credit card is tiny, so that's not an option.

Fact of the matter is, they shouldn't go around demanding payment to bind coverage when they don't have an actual policy done. They shopped it after the fact.
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Old 16-07-2015, 08:37   #8
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

I would highly recommend that you contact Scott Stusek at Pantaenius Yacht Insurance, 443-569-7995. He is in Annapolis, MD and is both the local agent and underwriter for Pantaenius. They have excellent rates and coverage. JMHO
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Old 16-07-2015, 09:43   #9
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

A few things come to mind.....
1. An agent has the power to bind coverage with the carrier
2. To bind coverage means you Have coverage
3. If you made a payment and received a policy, then you have coverage.
4. If the agent did all this in error or beyond the scope of their authority, it doesnt matter because they represented themselves to you that they had the authority.
5. If they issued a policy, they cannot simply "take it back". There are cancellation provisions in the contract outlining how coverage can be terminated.
6. Since you also made a payment, they cannot cancel you for non payment, which may also mean they cannot cancel you at all except for fraud or misrepresentation
7. if you have a loss, it appears that their E and O coverage may have to be accessed.

Having said all of that, you obviously do not want to fight over a claim or whether or not you have a policy or coverage, and a true resolution is best. However, if pushing and shoving occur, then some of the above may be helpful.
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Old 16-07-2015, 09:49   #10
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

Hopefully you can resolve your issue with Seaworthy. If you are looking for another insurer try CATLIN (I obtained my policy through the Norman Spencer Agency in Kansas City (odd place to insure an East Coast boat)).

Who is Catlin? They underwrite Lloyds of London for one - a huge insurer.

Very competitive rate, way under BoatUS. So far so good (but no claims yet).

Good luck.
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Old 16-07-2015, 09:59   #11
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

Contact the state insurance commission and see what they say.

Later,
Dan
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Old 16-07-2015, 11:32   #12
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

IMIS has arranged our insurance coverage for the last 20 years or so... no glitches.

It happens our normal annual payments (now) go directly to the current underwriter, not IMIS. Don't know why; maybe that varies by carrier. Can't remember what the first (binder) payment was, though.

Can't imagine IMIS not acting appropriately, but I can imagine a scenario where in good faith they fully expected the underwriter to insure... but the carrier declined for whatever reason.

Al is a member here, and/or -- faster -- just call Gary or Heather or whomever on the phone and talk it through.

-Chris
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Old 16-07-2015, 16:09   #13
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

Thanks, folks.

Although I feel what they have done to this point has not been right, I'm continuing to work with them.

They are currently attempting to shop the deal to other insurers.

No word as of close of business today.
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Old 20-07-2015, 19:57   #14
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Re: International Marine Insurance Services

2hullVenus,


The points the other posters make are correct:
1) PAYMENT: Some companies ask us to have you to pay them directly, others ask IMIS to collect the premiums and mail in payments on a monthly basis so you make your check out to IMIS, so that's why the payment varies from case to case. So who you make the check out to is irrelevant.
2) The PROCESS is that we send you a quote, usually with a sample policy booklet. Some quotes are indication only, subject to survey because a boat is older, or subject to underwriter review of a sailing resume because of experience, or mooring location, etc. Note: While they look similar, a quote is different from a DECLARATIONS or a BINDER, which is actual proof of coverage having been bound. A QUOTE is just an indication of there price, and has the boat description, your name & address, and the coverage limits. If you like that quote, we submit any other documents, if required, to the underwriter (such as a signed application, survey, sailing resume, hurricane plan, etc). The underwriter will then review all the subjectives and give final approval. Then we can bind coverage. They can, during that review do 1 of 3 things: 1) decide not to offer the coverage due to a boat not looking good on the survey, or due to their review of your experience or claims history, 2) or they can approve as quoted, 3) or modify the quote. We then get back to you with their answer, and then you decide whether to go ahead. If you don't like the answer, we try other companies. If you like the answer, we bind the coverage and tell you how to make the payment.
In some cases, we don't even have to submit your informaition to the underwriter at all, since we have limited authority to bind coverage if your boat falls into a category for which we have the authority for. Our authority varies by company, but for example, a new boat with an experienced owner and no claims moored north of Florida would probably fall within our authority to bind without submitting to the underwriter. So perhaps your agent thought you fell into that category, but discovered when they went to bind the coverage that there was an issue that needed
underwriter approval?
The process works as above, 99% of the time. If you're in a huge hurry due to an impending closing date and pressure us to get things done yesterday, things might get done a bit out of order, but we do our best to work with those situations.
Have you contacted me or Al to let us know that you're not happy? If not, please do so, as that is your best forum for getting things resolved.
Best Regards,
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