During a cockpit, drinks session with other cruisers was told a story of a clear claim against Pantaenius. Was told as US citizen you donít have ďstanding ď so need to work through a British solicitor. Claim was successful but took 3 years to resolve. Admittedly this is total hearsay and just one occurrence but it raises concerns. Pantaenius is more expensive but the coverage details seem better than Geico. Anybody have claim experience with any of the available companies serving this market? The
Pantaenius has two separate companies operating under the same umbrella company. One is European, and the other is US. Each has separate policies with regard to legal actions against them - if you are insured by the European company, you use European court systems. Likewise for the US you use the US court system. It sounds like your example was a US citizen with a European Pantaenius policy, and a claim in US waters?
After the past hurricane(s) in the E. Caribe, I heard a couple of bad stories about Pantaenius not paying a claimed loss. Since we have a vested interest in this, I tracked down the actual stories. In each case, the insured clearly and knowingly violated the terms of their policy. One was even outside their policy navigational area.
Insurance is something we have paid a lot of attention to. We almost yearly review our policy and compare it to other quoted policies. Pantaenius is the 4th company we have insured with, and have had it for 3yrs, so I'm not fan-boying - we will change at a drop of the hat for a better overall policy.
What we have experienced in our research is:
1. Many people claiming inexpensive policies from companies like Allstate, etc have terms that are not acceptable to us. Things like depreciated assets, coastal limits, etc. We know quite a few people with these policies who were caught unaware in making a claim that they did not have an agreed-value policy, and that their damaged equipment was only insured for pennies on the dollar in depreciated costs. Some have been caught unaware that their navigation limits were within 100nm of land, and had claims denied when the damage happened offshore. One didn't realize that lightning damage was specifically excluded.
2. Non-US insurance has been the best overall policies we have had. Certainly less expensive. However, we were being kicked off our policies because the companies began to refuse insuring US citizens due to litigation and regulation issues (even though we were being covered outside the US). We would move to other good non-US policies, but eventually those companies made the same decision. Three years ago, all good non-US companies simply refused to insure US citizens at all. That is when we moved to US Pantaenius. This year, we did another extensive search for insurance and was refused quotes by every European company on the grounds that they no longer insure US citizens.
3. The price of a policy reflects the level and quality of coverage one desires. There really isn't that much price difference between companies when apple-apple comparisons are made with every policy point being identical. Maybe 5-10% difference. The price differences are in navigational limits, layup periods, agreed-value vs depreciated, deductible, personal belongings, liability, dinghy. Make each policy identical in these categories, and they will pretty much be identical in price. However, you won't find identical policies because different companies have different coverages. This is where people mistakenly believe they have found less expensive coverage for their boat compared to someone else with an identical boat.
For example Pantaenius waives the deductible for lightning damage, while another company we looked at this year that was a bit cheaper doubled the deductible. That company also didn't cover the dinghy unless for theft, and only if it was demonstrably locked to the boat and there was actual provable damage to the boat and dinghy in its removal. Pantaenius allows us to make passages as far and long as we like with only 2 of us on board. Other policies we have considered require 3-6 people for any offshore passage further than 100nm from land.
Navigation limits and layup periods play a large role in costs. Our policy dropped 50% this year when we agreed to move our boat to Brunswick GA instead of Fernindina FL - a distance of 20nm! It would have doubled if we wanted to stay in FL, but not put the boat on the hard with hurricane tie downs.
One must decide where that price/coverage/risk sweet spot is for them individually. There is no such thing as a significantly less-expensive policy - only a cheaper policy for different coverage and risk.