Scott Berg, a CF member
, referred me to a broker
with a well-known insurance
company in Annapolis
. The broker
was generous with his time and he provided a few insights about the changing U.S. insurance
He said that the biggest issue trending in the boat
insurance industry is that many major insurers are no longer selling insurance through brokers. Instead they are dealing directly with the consumer. (So when your broker says the insurer will no longer insure your boat
, he might be saying that he no longer represents the insurance company and you must deal directly with the company.) He said that he has lost
half his income
this year as a result of the course change by insurers. The big money
isn't in insuring small boats, like mine, but in insuring the 150-footers and up, where the commission is in many thousands of dollars. Dealing directly with the insured, the big companies can save that money
or make quotes more competitive.
Boaters lose too, because experienced brokers have established relationships with the companies and they can go to bat for their customers as new business or in handling claims.
Yes, insurers are being more careful about what and whom they insure, especially big catamarans bought by people who have no appropriate experience or knowledge. Lots of claims, he says, especially in marinas
where the inexperienced operator bounces off the pilings and into several other boats before the boat arrives in its slip - or not.
Yes, old boats are difficult to insure but not impossible. For example, he said that someone who has owned an old boat for a long time and gets a good survey
of the boat and its value, has a chance of getting insurance. Sailing credentials and a Master's ticket help too.
Yes, some companies are writing liability-only policies, but they are beginning to ask for the same things required for full insurance. This is an effort to avoid risk for any boat or operator that shouldn't be on the water
He did emphasize not to give any information in a policy application that isn't requested unless you are very certain that it will help you, i.e., a positive boating
I'm on the Chesapeake and readying my boat to finally go home to Florida
after a lengthly many-years-long refit
that has involved many nights in a sleeping bag in the back of a van, and away from home. I have insurance with the same company for more than 40 years claim-free. But, it no longer insures larger sailboats in Florida
including mine, a 1973 Prout Snowgoose 34 catamaran
. So I have to find insurance to be able to cross the border.
I can't get a survey
until essential things are complete (in progress) and I can't discuss new insurance without the survey in hand. A catch 22 for sure. At a minimum I must have liability insurance to keep the boat in the marina slip I own at home.
One option I proposed, and he seemed to believe it is worth a try, is to negotiate with an insurer to cover the condo, the car, etc. with a prospective company if they will cover the boat too.