- Business - Howden settles superyacht sinkage

By Conor Feasey

Howden settles superyacht sinkage

The British independent insurance broker has rapidly settled the claim of a high-profile yacht sinkage following a fire last month…

Howden Superyachts is finalising the 47m Navis One settlement following it being declared a total loss due to a fire last month. Despite the short time frame, Paul Fuller, the firm’s superyacht Claims Manager, says that a swift response and thorough casualty investigation were the driving force being the rapid claim approval.

“As soon as the crew could be properly interviewed and the ultimate cause of the fire determined, the claim was agreed. This then clears the way for the wreck removal to go ahead,” Fuller tells SuperyachtNews. “In these situations, a pro-active and positive attitude from the insurers is crucial to the success and speed of a case of this urgency.”

The police and coast guard arrived at the fire on 9th October near Ano Koufonisi Island in Greece, which was rapidly spreading in strong winds. Efforts to control the fire continued overnight until the vessel began to list and finally sank during the early hours of October 10th. The 10 guests and 12 crew members were safely evacuated with no reported injuries.

Fires have been a prevalent issue for smaller yachts in recent years, but it hasn’t necessarily affected Howden’s approach to ensuring non-class approved vessels.

“Most insurers make being in Class with a recognised Classification Society or insurer a strict condition for larger yachts,” says Fuller. “Almost all yachts above 30m will be in Class. For the few that aren’t, it is possible to arrange a placement, however, this further limits the choice of insurers and is subject to detailed surveys.”

For smaller yachts, relatively few are in Class, though most are built to what is considered to be of Class approval standards. “Again, here independent surveys then become a requirement as the boat ages,” he adds.

Whilst this loss on its own will not affect the wider market and increase insurance premium pricing, insurers are taking note of the rising rate of fires on yachts. According to Fuller, the ongoing run of fire losses is leading some insurers to review their Builder, Class, and Applicable regulation regime risks stance.

The high-profile settlement comes shortly after the firm’s remodelling. Two years ago, Sturge Taylor joined the Howden Group following its acquisition of Sturge Taylor & Associates, establishing Howden Sturge. The decision to rebrand the firm under the banner Howden Superyachts in early October stems from the company's aim to streamline its operations as a specialist insurance broker.

Howden was originally founded by David Howden and two of his friends in London, in 1994. It has since grown to become one of the UK’s largest independent insurance brokers, with offices all over the world.
With its latest settlement now in its final stages, Fuller says the next steps are concentrated on the wreck removal operation.

“There is a great deal of environmental impact following a loss like this and the responsibility of yachting in tidying up after a major loss often lies with us,” he adds. “Howden is very much focused on insurance being a force for good and will be sure to discuss the operation’s progress in the future.”

Howden Superyachts is the headline insurance partner at TSF: Connect and will also be hosting a Connect session.

Tickets are in limited supply, but you can still register your attendance here.

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