Perils of a Pleasure Boat Insurance.
A small Swedish pleasure-boat got stranded on a beach on Ibiza in a violent and totally unannounced storm, which stranded four (4) yachts in the area and caused twelve (12) emergency turn-outs by Salvamento Maritimo during a few dramatic night hours.￼
The Insurance Company, was contacted and promised prompt salvage actions….
Under the veil of discretion, the Spanish Insurance Company will be named “the COMPANY” in this true story, but can be any Company adapting the same moral code.
Salvage actions was DELAYED SIX (6) DAYS, during which the boat bumped against the rocks by every wave and received more damage! The boat was then salvaged and transported in an unprofessional manner to an expensive boat-yard, chosen by the COMPANY, and received still more damage! The COMPANY blamed the delays on “fiestas y permisos”! ￼
The COMPANY could now be sure that the repair costs would exceed ¾ of the insured value and thus be considered as “total constructive loss”.
The COMPANY´s surveyor considered the boat underrated. The boat was insured to a value equivalent to comparable boats for sale on the Spanish boat-market and in accordance with the COMPANY´s agent in the base port.
When the tender for the repairs finally arrived, 24 days later, from the COMPANY-picked boat-yard, it was impudently high priced. ￼
A comparison with a well-reputed boat-yard on the Spanish mainland showed that the repairs could be done on the Mainland boat-yard for less than half the price and with 5 years guarantee. ￼
The boat-owner felt as caught in a trap.
The COMPANY-picked boat-yard demanded an absurd sum for releasing the boat from the boat-yard, increased the lay-up-fee 37 %, and threatened to bring the boat to a scrap-yard. ￼
The transport from Ibiza to the boat-yard on the Mainland would be very expensive.
The COMPANY´s offer of indemnity, 54 days later, for “total constructive loss”, was reluctantly accepted. A number of questions concerning the course of events were sent to the COMPANY.
The COMPANY then made huge deductions for insured but undamaged equipment remaining aboard, salvage and transport, and told the boat-owner that he was still owner of the boat and its equipment and responsible for all pending and future costs from the COMPANY-picked boat-yard.
A few weeks later the boat-owner visited Ibiza by car to pick up personal effects and the insured but undamaged equipment, which the COMPANY had deducted from the indemnity.
When he came to the boat-yard, the COMPANY-picked boat-yard manager PREVENTED HIM FROM PICKING UP HIS BELONGINGS FROM THE BOAT! ￼
One month later a friend, well initiated in insurance matters, told the boat owner that he was being cheated by the COMPANY and helped formulate a claim.
The claim was sent to the COMPANY and resulted in a poor consolation, called “calculation error”.
The claim was recommitted and the afore-mentioned questions repeated.
Appeals were made to the Spanish consumer organization OMIC, to Dirección General de Seguros (DGS), to The Spanish and Swedish Consumer Commissions for “unfair terms in consumer contract”, to the Spanish Financial Ombudsman (El Defensor del Pueblo). All in vain.
A clause in the Insurance Contract promised (?) that possible conflicts could be solved by arbitration procedure. An application for arbitration was sent to la Junta Arbitral de Consumo.
In a letter to La Junta Arbitral de Consumo, the COMPANY explicitly refused to take part in an arbitration and gave an empty promise to take immediate contact with the client. ￼
At the time of writing, more than three months later, no contact has been taken.
Boat owners and others ought to be able to draw their own conclusions from this true story.
My advice is: Read the rest of this article and check your Boat Insurance Contract with your Company.
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