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  #21  
Old 03-11-2013
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Re: Professional Liability Insurance for delivery or hiring crews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post

...
I got a real chuckle thinking of this. The delivery Captain that I use for any passage of significance is way more experienced than I. Multiple trips per year, back and forth from the Caribbean. The insurance company should lower my rate, when he has the boat!!
You might give your insurance agent a call next time and see if they will!
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  #22  
Old 03-15-2013
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Re: Professional Liability Insurance for delivery or hiring crews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Burton View Post
Just my opinion, but this discussion revolves around a sort of philosophical problem that I find a bit troubling. Please forgive me ranting.

...[Snip]...
Excellent thoughts, Andrew - your take on this mirrors mine very closely...

This sort of bass-ackwards focus has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, and I definitely feel blessed to have gotten into the delivery trade long before such concerns were the primary priority...

I liken what's occurring in the delivery business to the phenomenon that has overtaken, and completely transformed, my 'real' vocation - photography - as well... Just as GPS/electronic charting has enabled pretty much anyone with a warm body to take a boat anywhere, the incredible advances in photographic technology and digital post-processing/manipulation have enabled virtually anyone with a decent eye to produce professional-quality results... I spent years learning the craft, and the nuances of how films like Kodachrome and Velvia reacted to light, at pretty much the same time I was getting the experience to acquire a CG 6-Passenger license... Of course, that's not the way it's done nowadays. Hand-held light meters have become as superfluous as sextants, there's no need to get it right in the camera anymore, mistakes can be corrected digitally afterwards, just as easily as a shot of bow thruster can save your ass after a completely blown approach, or cluelessness as to what the current alongside might be doing... (grin) As a result, you and I now find ourselves increasingly competing with many who may lack a deeper or harder-won understanding of the craft, or lack of a fuller understanding of all that they may not know...

I realize many who have chosen more conventional paths, would not understand yours and my views on a subject like insurance, thinking us reckless, or hopelessly naive... And, perhaps they're right... But, my eyes quickly glaze over when reading a thread about "Yacht Delivery Contracts - What to look for?", for example... Over 35 years running boats, and I have yet to ever offer or sign a 'Delivery Contract'... If my reputation, confirmed with a handshake, or my soothing voice on the telephone isn't good enough for the client, well... he should probably be looking elsewhere... (grin)

I don't know, I can't help wonder whether the OP may not really be cut out for our line of work... Funny, most everyone I know running boats simply "fell into the business" somewhere along the line, a surprisingly small percentage seem to have made a conscious decision to become a delivery captain...

Not to mention, I can't imagine anyone I really know and respect in the trade, uttering a sentence that begins with the words "Well, my lawyer tells me..."

On the other hand, perhaps guys like you and I are the real dinosaurs, and the wave of the future is delivery skippers beginning to learn our craft in law school, or a study of the nuance of the insurance industry...

Grin, bigtime...
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Last edited by JonEisberg; 03-17-2013 at 07:29 PM.
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  #23  
Old 03-15-2013
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Re: Professional Liability Insurance for delivery or hiring crews

"But don't make getting liability insurance any kind of priority."
All well and good to compare philospphies of life but that wasn't the OP's question.

Let's suppose one of you top experts hits a deadhead at night, stuffs a foot wide hole in the hull and loses a cheap quarter million dollar 40'er. The owner is a nice guy but his wife is really pissed at you and files suit, saying it was irresponsible of you to sail at night when you couldn't see what was out there. She gets a jury to agree and you get screwed. Hey, sure, you did everything right and **** happens, but that also includes courts making the wrong decisions and now you're being held liable for a quarter million dollars, and also the loss of her prize winning pomeritzu dogs who last were seen going down with the boat. They were prize-winning breed stock and gifts from Leona Helmsley, valued at another hundred grand for the pair.

You're screwed. You will now lose 350,000 dollars, from your house, your retirement funds (they're not all inviolate), your own boat, whatever you've got. It doesn't matter how good or professional you were, folks get caught up in this stuff all the time and SOME folks would really rather just buy insurance than risk the loss.

It has nothing to do with how qualified you are, how responsible you are, how experienced you are. It has to deal solely with how you chose to ensure against risk of loss.

Solo delivery captains may be the last cowboys, riding off with just a horse and saddle. Much of the rest of the world? Isn't quite so brave.
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Last edited by hellosailor; 03-15-2013 at 06:25 PM.
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  #24  
Old 03-16-2013
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Re: Professional Liability Insurance for delivery or hiring crews

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"But don't make getting liability insurance any kind of priority."
All well and good to compare philospphies of life but that wasn't the OP's question.

Let's suppose one of you top experts hits a deadhead at night, stuffs a foot wide hole in the hull and loses a cheap quarter million dollar 40'er. The owner is a nice guy but his wife is really pissed at you and files suit, saying it was irresponsible of you to sail at night when you couldn't see what was out there. She gets a jury to agree and you get screwed. Hey, sure, you did everything right and **** happens, but that also includes courts making the wrong decisions and now you're being held liable for a quarter million dollars, and also the loss of her prize winning pomeritzu dogs who last were seen going down with the boat. They were prize-winning breed stock and gifts from Leona Helmsley, valued at another hundred grand for the pair.

You're screwed. You will now lose 350,000 dollars, from your house, your retirement funds (they're not all inviolate), your own boat, whatever you've got. It doesn't matter how good or professional you were, folks get caught up in this stuff all the time and SOME folks would really rather just buy insurance than risk the loss.

It has nothing to do with how qualified you are, how responsible you are, how experienced you are. It has to deal solely with how you chose to ensure against risk of loss.

Solo delivery captains may be the last cowboys, riding off with just a horse and saddle. Much of the rest of the world? Isn't quite so brave.
You're absolutely correct, of course, and there is certainly a good case to be made for carrying liability insurance... My response was simply more to the general tone of Andrew's musings, rather than to the OP's query (who seems to be getting a bit ahead of himself in certain respects, by thinking of purchasing a life raft before owning a boat, for example (grin))

I've always viewed the delivery business as a surprisingly 'intimate' one, as you're assuming command of a possession that is very dear to most clients... Personally, I cannot imagine having my own boat delivered by anyone else, and there has to be an extraordinary amount of trust involved, on the part of both parties... I've been lucky, since deliveries have never represented my sole source of income, I've usually had the luxury to pass on deals that didn't 'feel right', or that I sensed might turn into a real PITA... As with most any profession, one develops the ability to sense the likelihood of a particular client being one that might best be avoided within the first minute of a phone conversation... One of the first things I learned getting started out, is to always go with my gut feeling in that respect...

Obviously, guys like Andrew and I are still operating by modes of 'responsible behavior' that no longer apply... We've both gotten away with it for decades, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time before I sink some client's million dollar baby, his own insurance refuses to cover the loss, and he turns to me for payback...

One thing I do have going for me that might help me avoid your scenario, however:

I would never, EVER run a boat with a pair of prize-winning Pomeritzus along for the ride... (grin)
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  #25  
Old 03-16-2013
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Re: Professional Liability Insurance for delivery or hiring crews

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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
.....I'm sure it's just a matter of time before I sink some client's million dollar baby, his own insurance refuses to cover the loss, and he turns to me for payback...
That's the rub. Even if the owner's insurance pays him, the insurance company may pursue you (subrogation) if you are the one that caused them the loss.
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  #26  
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Re: Professional Liability Insurance for delivery or hiring crews

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Originally Posted by Andrew Burton View Post
If the lawyers want to get you, they will....
It does not have to be that way. It's a choice.
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  #27  
Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Professional Liability Insurance for delivery or hiring crews

That's also where a good LLC makes sense. You have to run it properly, handle the finances properly, comply with all the (mostly straightforward) regulations, but it can keep the courts from "piercing the corporate veil" and coming after you personally. Think of it as another level of insurance. Sure, you may lose your business and all of its assets, but it lets you keep your own stuff, like your house. At least on the surface, it seems to make a lot of sense, but if you really want to get good advice, talk to a lawyer about it. Many will give you an short conversation for free or a minimal ($200-$500)charge.
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  #28  
Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Professional Liability Insurance for delivery or hiring crews

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Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
That's also where a good LLC makes sense. You have to run it properly, handle the finances properly, comply with all the (mostly straightforward) regulations, but it can keep the courts from "piercing the corporate veil" and coming after you personally. Think of it as another level of insurance. Sure, you may lose your business and all of its assets, but it lets you keep your own stuff, like your house. At least on the surface, it seems to make a lot of sense, but if you really want to get good advice, talk to a lawyer about it. Many will give you an short conversation for free or a minimal ($200-$500)charge.
If you are suggesting that you establish an LLC that the owner contracts with and you are an employee of the LLC, it will not have any impact on your personal liability. I know this, as they are used for aircraft all the time. The pilots are not protected. They either need to be named insureds on the LLC policy or carry their own.

In the lawsuit, both the LLC will be named, which is protected to the extent of its assets, as well as the Captain will be named personally for their actions. The LLC only creates a "veil" if you're not there.
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Last edited by Minnewaska; 03-17-2013 at 08:05 AM.
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  #29  
Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Professional Liability Insurance for delivery or hiring crews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg
.....I'm sure it's just a matter of time before I sink some client's million dollar baby, his own insurance refuses to cover the loss, and he turns to me for payback...
That's the rub. Even if the owner's insurance pays him, the insurance company may pursue you (subrogation) if you are the one that caused them the loss.
Yup, another good point...

For over 20 years of shooting IndyCar racing for a corporate client, I was required to carry my own liability insurance. I was able to obtain an umbrella policy that covered all of my professional activities, so I was presumably covered in the kind of situation we're talking about...

After I stopped shooting racing, I kept the policy for another year or so... When the economy went into the dumper, and the delivery business along with it, I let the coverage lapse, it simply wasn't worth it, along with other business expenses such as the ad I was running in POWER & MOTORYACHT... Now that business seems to be picking up again, I may have to re-visit the issue...

However, my recent/current experience - one that is shared with virtually everyone else in my neighborhood - with insurance companies in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is a sobering reminder that unless they happen to be in an unusually charitable mood, insurance companies are not in the business of "ensuring" anything... In this particular instance, I would have been ahead of the game had I carried no homeowner's insurance whatsoever for the past 20 years (my last claim was over 30 years ago), and "self-insured" instead... So, on some level, I remain unconvinced that a liability policy would afford a truly bulletproof guarantee in the event someone having no real understanding of boating/sailing becomes convinced I was truly negligent...

I'm afraid Andrew is correct, the insurance guys and their lawyers ALWAYS win, in the end...

And, when they don't, we as taxpayers and policy holders will wind up bailing them out, anyway... (grin)
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  #30  
Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Professional Liability Insurance for delivery or hiring crews

Estate planning and asset protection planning are best done well in advance of any mishap.
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