24 Nov 2015
Are United States crew at higher risk of insurance faux-pas?
By Rory Jackson
With European, US and Australasian citizens forming the bulk of the superyacht crew employment pool, are US citizens at greater risk of insurance failures in light of their more financially motivated healthcare system? SuperyachtNews.com speaks to Mark Bononi, director of MHG Insurance Brokers’ Yacht Division about the risk associated with crewmembers overlooking insurance.
All US crew, unless they are out of the country for more than 330 days in a year, are subject to US health care regulations.
“As an American, if you are on a boat and you get hurt, the doctor or hospital is going to be looking to you as a crewmember to cover the costs,” starts Bononi. It is true that in some instances a benevolent owner may well front a bill or two for which he feels responsible, but this is by no means the standard model.
“Whether liable or not, the responsibility to protect oneself ends with the individual crewmember,” Bononi continues. “As an uncovered American citizen an accident may destroy your credit rating.”
Fortunately for many crewmembers a healthy wage packet puts them in a healthy financial position in case of emergencies. However, the ability to save for a rainy day is not innate to all. US crew, who do not have such a rainy day fund may find themselves in deep waters.
“Unless you pay the bill they are going to send you to collections and this will have an adverse affect on your credit score,” Bononi continues. “That credit score here in the US is critical, if you have bad credit you can’t do just about anything.” From getting satellite television to buying a house, poor credit can be extremely hampering in the United States.
A contentious issue in recent years has been the ability of employers to check the credit rating of prospective employees and hire based on the results. For those with negative credit this stands to perpetuate the difficulties they find themselves in.
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