From an insurance point of view, there is no generally valid answer to these questions. One thing is for sure: too many cooks spoil the broth. We at Pantaenius do actually deal with quite a few captains, but the involvement of captains, management companies or owners usually depends on the set up of the yacht. Is there a management company involved? Is the captain asked to assume responsibility for the insurance arrangements or is he ‘just’ considered as the helmsman or crew manager?
Flag-state compliance should be considered as an issue of paramount importance whenever captains are involved in the process of choosing or reviewing yacht insurance policies. Those regulations can vary greatly in content and extent. These distinctions often strongly affect the necessity of certain insurance requirements regarding, for example, manning or crew medical and accident insurance.
However, if the captain is involved in the process of choosing a yacht insurance policy or his employment situation requires him to do so, there are some issues that – from a captain’s perspective – deserve special attention as well. Medical and accident cover for crew was mentioned before but what is in reality the best solution for the individual situation should be carefully considered. Do you choose named or unnamed crew policies? If you plan to employ dayworkers, for example, this will mean, according to some flag-state regulations, medical cover for these dayworkers will be required.
The more people who are involved in managing and operating a yacht, the more likely it is to miss out on essential information. If the captain is responsible for the insurance arrangements, he should be the single point of contact.
When it comes to accident insurance, captains especially should consider a higher level of coverage, due to the length of their career and the enhanced salaries they can achieve. Maybe there is a whole family depending on one job; an accident resulting in death or disability may then have great financial consequences for them if there is no appropriate policy in place.
The more people who are involved in managing and operating a yacht, the more likely it is to miss out on essential information. If the captain is responsible for the insurance arrangements, he should be the single point of contact to make sure the owner’s interests are properly considered and insurance gaps are being avoided. What if, for example, the yacht was registered as a pleasure vessel and is now used for chartering? Or if the owner decides to take his collection of fine arts on board or a new tender has been bought? All of these changes need to be reported to the insurance company, as they are considered a change in risk and can affect your insurance cover. It needs to be understood that yacht insurance can sometimes be a continuous process rather than a one-shot operation.
One rather general issue regarding superyacht insurance is that owners sometimes overlook the importance of liability insurance as they wish to protect their assets first. As the financial repercussions resulting from liability claims can easily excess the value of the vessel itself, the issue of liability insurance should never be underestimated. Captains should take this into account when reviewing insurance policies. The bottom line is there is no useful tool to evaluate insurance policies. Unless you analyse the coverage, comparing the premiums is meaningless.
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