Ran across a reference to this Caribbean Compass article of a couple of years ago on another forum. The complete article is at:
Yacht Insurance Underwriting
...but the part that interested me was some of the guidelines and assumptions made by insurers. We have a lot of opinions here on Sailnet...but these opinions affect how much we pay for our insurance AND how much the insurers are at risk if they are wrong. Thought it might be interesting for discussion.
"There are certain truisms apparent to the occupant of the Yacht Claims Desk, many of which can incite violent arguments if restated in polite company. These certainties, experience-based rather than theoretical, are listed below in no particular order:
· Wood yachts are today generally poor insurance risks
· Fiberglass is the most practical construction material today for yachts less than 60 feet in length.
· Steel and aluminum yachts, while often better constructed, are more difficult and costly to repair due to the lack of skilled technicians and facilities.
· Lighting damage is one of the most commonly occurring losses in the tropics.
· Lightning diffusers and diverters have no provable effect on lightning strike occurrences.
· Notwithstanding their growing popularity, catamarans are more exposed to loss than monohulls. Experience indicates that the catamaran is more likely to sustain a lightning strike; the catamaran is more exposed to dismasting than other vessels; the beam of the catamaran makes secure mooring more difficult to obtain; catamarans present a significant capsizing risk. (Any vessel with an escape hatch in the hull bottom should be viewed with concern.); the stability of the catamaran makes it popular with those with less than extensive seagoing skills; ad infinitum
· Older boats are more exposed to rigging failures hence the need for periodic rigging surveys;
· Rigging surveys should be conducted before ocean passages
· Carbon fiber mast and hulls are extremely expensive and difficult to repair.
· Theft is a risk which can be managed by restrictive policy conditions.
· Dinghies and tenders should not be covered by insurance when under tow.
· Gasoline-powered boats are more dangerous than diesel-powered boats.
· Every vessel in tropical waters (mainland and islands) should have a real world-workable hurricane protection plan.
· Sails or yacht canvas items left in place in a named wind storm increase the likelihood of damage to the vessel and should not be subject to insurance coverage.
· Trimarans and vessels built of ferro-cement are generally very poor insurance risks.
· Speed is a factor in powerboat loss occurrences - the higher the speed the more likely an operating loss.
· The insuring of charter boats in competitive regattas should be undertaken with extreme care.
· Typical charter boat damage deposits do not adequately respond to the increased risk in regattas.
· Fixed-fee yacht deliveries create an increased potential for loss.
· Single-handed operation of yachts on ocean voyages increases the potential for loss.
· Charterers are no more likely to imperil the safety of a charter vessel than are members of the general boating public to imperil a private vessel.
· There is difference in loss exposure and reparability among vessels by various manufacturers.
· The yacht survey is generally inclined to reflect the view of the party paying for the survey.
· The most important factor: there is no substitute for competent and experienced seamanship.