Try to think of it like this:
You invite guest "A" for a sail. Guest "A" messes with the stove, oven heater thinking they are helping. This causes propane to leak into the boat. Your boat blows up and guest "A" is badly hurt.
Guest "A's" lawyer sues you/your insurance company and finds a survey that listed a lack of plackards for safe use of oven, stove heater etc.. Your insurance company saw the survey but did not ask you to add said plackards.... Your insurance company is very likely now on the hook. They are simply covering their butts in an attempt to minimize potential claims..
In the whole scheme you got off very, very lightly. I get calls about once every few weeks to "fix" insurance non-compliance.
Everything from wire nuts to bank fusing, bank venting, battery containment, battery hold downs, over current protection, corrosion in electrical connections, to LPG systems to fuel hose to bilge blowers and bilge pump systems. I don't get calls for plackards as they are a simple peel & stick for the owner...
I have one boat that is completely out of commission due to wet decks around the chain plates and can't go in the water until the owner spends 10k to fix the issues. It should be done for safety, it is truly unsafe, but the owner is still pissed.
The big ticket items for insurance companies that I get calls for are:
Electrical - They seem to want compliance with what ever the surveyor finds.
LPG systems - They want compliance with current standards
Bilge systems - High water alarms, wiring, proper hose size etc.
CO/Smoke - When heaters etc. are present they are asking for them
Fuel systems - double clamps, USCG fuel hose, hose cracking, tank & fill grounding, fire rated filters in engine bays etc. etc.
The ABYC only sets the bar for safety. Your insurance company determines your level of compliance with the current safety standards based on periodic surveys.. This is why I always recommend doing any work on your boat to the current safety standards. This is also why I always chuckle when I hear the mantra; "The ABYC is a standard not a requirement. You can do what you want on your own boat."
Yes, this is 100% true that you can do what you want on your own boat, unless you want to have marine insurance... Kind of a catch 22.....
I have one customer who used "wet exhaust" hose for a diesel fill hose, because he got a "good deal" (an end cut at Hamilton Marine's hose cut sale bin).
1.5" hose is 1.5" hose right??? Last summer he had an insurance survey and the "good deal" became not such a good deal and his insurance company mandated a USCG compliance fuel fill hose. Seeing as this was middle of the season the owner did not have the time to do the job. After I took half the interior apart to get at the hose, and added the cost of the new hose, his good deal cost about $260.00 more than just using the right hose to begin with. It was $2.80 ft difference for 7.5 ft of hose so he initially saved $21.00. A savings of $21.00 only to spend an additional $260.00 to meet his insurance companies compliance request based on a survey....
I don't think safe use plackards are a lot to ask when you put yourself in your insurance companies shoes especially as it is now in writing that you don't have them. The run a game of numbers and you, me and every other customer is a number to them. The more we comply with accepted safety standards the less potential for loss they have.
Again, you got pretty lucky and your surveyor could have easily really stung you.....
THE BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE IS THIS:
DO NOT MESS WITH YOUR CURRENT POLICY AND DO AS THEY ASK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have customers who have pulled "attitude" with their insurance companies over trivial requirements in an insurance survey. Then a few weeks later only to find a "you're coverage has been dropped"
letter in the mail..
Try getting new coverage vs. an existing policy on an older boat. Most companies will just tell you "We don't insure boats of "X" age".... If they do, the new policy pricing can be outrageous on older boats.
A new coverage survey is a FULL SURVEY and much tougher and considerably more thorough than a standard insurance (already covered) survey. One guy is now paying about $1200.00 more per year than he had been for the same value coverage! All this over a rather trivial requirement (about $120.00 to fix) found in an insurance survey that he gave them some guff over....... Something to consider anyway.......