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post #6 of Old 03-19-2004
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Cruising Insurance

Marcus, your agent''s statement about Lloyds coverage probably suggests you would benefit by changing brokers...or at least comparing what you hear from several different ones. (We were recently covered for an Atlantic crossing by Lloyds, and subsequent cruising in N Europe).

You might visit and review the more recent postings on their Cruising Discussions BB; there are several insurance threads there which will be helpful. Also, I (surprisingly) found the article in the recent CW magazine on the current state of boat insurance to be accurate and well done; you might want to read it.

You''ll often find we cruising sailors offering firm recommendations on a given broker but knowing little about the different carriers/underwriters (which is afterall where your protection lies). You''ll also find most of us have little or no claims history (the only time one learns for sure how ''good'' one''s coverage and service is), and that our policies can vary widely in coverage (starting with whether it''s an ''all risk''s policy'' or not) so it''s difficult to fair a reliable curve on what''s a fair premium or a good carrier based on anecdotal reports.

Much like the discussions we''ve had here on using a broker when shopping for a boat, using a ''good'' insurance broker can be a huge help, due to the circumstances outlined above and others (such as the need for helpful service once you''re out cruising and remote from easy/cheap communications). However, the devil''s in the details of finding that ''good broker''.

FWIW one recommendation I''d make is to contact IMIS (800 541-4647), a family brokerage of former cruising sailors who have made quite a name for themselves (and happen to be favorably mentioned in that CW article). We''ve been covered thru them on two offshore voyages in the last 5 years, have received exceptional service when remotely in need of it (fortunately, not for claims service), and they have now created their own policy (with Markel as the underwriter) intended specifically for short-handed, offshore sailors (known as their ''Jackline Policy''). You might want to give them a call. (It''s also worth noting that they recently had to report to some customers that they had discovered a UK broker thru whom they placed UK-based coverage who had pocketed the premiums. This goes to show that even experienced brokers can suffer surprises, most especially in the foreign marketplace where there is far less regulatory oversight than in the U.S. with U.S.-based carriers).

Good luck on the upcoming passage!

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