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Old 23-04-2011, 05:32   #1
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Are we all uninsured at sea?

While chasing insurance quotes for a new vessel that should have been finished by now, I came across a very interesting statement by one of Australia's major marine insurance companies.

I asked them do you insure single handers for open ocean passages. They replied that there was no automatic ban on singlehanding , but the onus was on every skipper to ensure that all the marine regulations were being complied with all the time. Is this is the usual insurance company 3 card trick where they take the premium knowing that they won't pay out in that circumstance anyway?

However, it would seem that the implication may be wider than for just singlehanders. Colregs puts the blame on both vessels in the event of a collision, because in the end even the stand on vessel has to take appropriate action to avoid the give way vessel. It would seem that maybe even the stand on vessel is then not complying with the regulations and is therefore not insured.

Does this mean that we pay our premiums for nothing on the open ocean anyway?

Greg
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Old 23-04-2011, 06:10   #2
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Re: Are we all uninsured at sea?

For 'Three card trick' read 'Catch 22'

Insurers are shysters and its their job to take yer money and wriggle off a hook if caught.
Im currently trying to wade through my marine quotations to attempt an understanding of the terminology and conditions and it seems that the very wording is designed to trick and mislead the punter and favour the shyster.

Ever thought it strange that when you go and do work for these people, and tax collectors and parking wardens, that they never tell you what they do for a living as they know its your turn to shaft them?

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Old 23-04-2011, 06:25   #3
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Re: Are we all uninsured at sea?

I think it would depend upon the circumstances. You are much more likely to suffer from something like gear failure (mast falls down), hitting something, or a fire in the galley while offshore than you are from a collision. However, even in these circumstances insurance companies will have a person take a very close look at the claim, particularly if it is a big one, to see if there is any tiny clause in your contract that you violated, even inadvertantly, and there is a lot of fine print in there. I have some friends who had to spend a lot of time, money, and effort to get a claim paid when their mast fell down offshore. The company was claiming lack of maintenance, even though the boat was only a few years old. Metallurgists got involved along with the lawyers.
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Old 23-04-2011, 06:43   #4
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Re: Are we all uninsured at sea?

See, that just proves it, the shysters would rather waste money on lawyers and metallurgists than pay out.

Lets be careful out there.
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Old 23-04-2011, 06:58   #5
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Re: Are we all uninsured at sea?

That's why it is important to have checked in the rep of the company far as claims payment. Some will have the rep of always trying to find a way out, while others will have a rep of honoring the insurance.

This isn't any different from any other insurance.

Wonder if we compared an insurance company's payout rep to the normal premium cost it would show a trend. I.E. cheap policies = the company always tries to not pay?
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Old 23-04-2011, 20:28   #6
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Re: Are we all uninsured at sea?

I used to work for insurance companies. They go a long way inside the industry to create a perception that everybody is trying to screw the poor multi-billion dollar company.
In 2 years of handling auto claims usually 3-6 a day, I saw 2 people that I really was convinced that they were doing everything possible to rip off the insurer. Still the insurance companies try to convince us all that everybody is defrauding them. I think that way they feel OK about not paying claims much like in a war people always try to dehumanize the enemy so they can feel OK about shooting them.
Anyway, at that time the worst insurance companies weren't the cheapest, they were Farmer's & Allstate. State Farm was equally expensive but they payed out OK. Safeco was inexpensive but they were GREAT to deal with. AAA was medium priced and pretty fair.
If you really want to know who pays out, talk to the boatyard that is doing a lot of insurance work. They'll know.
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Old 23-04-2011, 20:44   #7
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Re: Are we all uninsured at sea?

My friend just spent 31 days crossing the Pacific from Mexico. He got off the boat in Atuoana to clear into customs, and a boat dragged anchor and smashed his $4K hydrovane self steering system.

Not making an argument either way, but right now there's a guy in Hiva Oa trying to figure out what the hell to do because some jackass who was probably busy doing something other than practicing good seamanship ruined his day.
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