24 September 2016

16 May 2014

Attempting to adjust existing practices


Industry body, the Superyacht Claims Adjusters’ Association (SCAA) has been established in London to promote best practices within claims adjusting surrounding issues that invariably trigger disputes or disagreements, whilst enhancing the profession of claims adjusting as a whole.

And as Nick Smith, a founding member of the association and director of Charles Taylor Adjusting Yacht Practice, explained even in its infancy, the SCAA has attracted significant interest from adjusters, brokers and insurers alike.

Speaking exclusively to SuperyachtNews.com, Smith said the number of signatories was already pleasingly high. “I sent out 15 initial invitations and we had representatives from 25 companies attending the initial meeting, coming in from as far as Norway, and we’re already up to 55 members”, he explained.

The idea came around following agreement between Smith and his peers that there was a need to formalise the process for discussing issues that commonly arise with superyacht claims. “The purpose of the association is to recognise superyacht claims adjusting as a standalone profession, which it undoubtedly is, and to promote it through technical discussions, from both an insurance perspective and the yachts themselves.”

Peer review bodies are undoubtedly a positive development for sectors of the industry, and have obvious benefits with regards raising standards and instilling best practices. And the former is particularly pertinent with regards insurance claims, as they are historically such arbitrary processes.

SCAA has begun by forming four technical working groups – promotion, technical-yachts, technical-insurance and education – operating under the auspices of the executive committee. “We don’t intend to come up with a [codified] rules of practice but we will come up with some guidelines as to what we think best practice is”, Smith explains. “And this will cover cases such as paint.”

Paint job defects and subsequent damages are an industry hot potato, and Smith recalls a recent incident on board an 83m where two 12-inch scratches triggered a complete overhaul of the topcoat, “even though the paint was coming to the end of its lifecycle anyway”. “But this sort of situation can trigger 10 different answers from 10 different insurers, and that sort of inconsistency doesn’t do us any favours”, he adds.

The subjective nature of paint work makes it an obvious target for disputes.

There are plenty of other controversial areas – the proliferation of carbon fibre masts for example – and the association’s work will entail addressing these issues as they arise and proposing means of tackling them.

He is however, keen to play down any suggestion of SCAA being akin to a cartel, and this is why there is no plan to codify any element of their work. “It just gives people a list of guidelines that certain companies will employ and the option to use them or not.”

Uptake within the insurance fraternity has been “market-wide” but Smith is keen to enlist the insight and analysis of captains in time for the next meeting in June 2014.

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