United Marine Insurance Claims  

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United Marine Insurance provides a complete range of marine insurance services for commercial marine oprators and owners of large vessels. Part of the service includes assistance with marine insurance claims from small dings and dents to major catastrophical events, including pollution and passanger liablity claims. The Following information is designed to help our clients and other consumers to better understand what happens with marine insurance claims.

What is a marine Insurance Claim
The Claims Process
Claims Authority
Making a Marine Insurance Claim
Marine Hull Claims
When the Damage to your Vessel is the Fault of another Person
When another person wishes to claim against your insurance for damage or injury they say you caused

What is a marine Insurance Claim

A claim occurs when something unfortuitous happens to cause loss or damage to insured property; in respect of marine insurance this will usually be in relation to your boat and/or another boat damaged or destroyed in circumstances arising from the use or ownership of your boat; including injuries to persons. For an insurance claim to be payable you must first be insured for the particular circumstances that gave rise to the claim being made against you; this will include reference to the limits of cover afforded to you under the policy of insurance including the terms and conditions of the policy’s cover. This principal is similar across all insurance classes; thus, where an insurance claim is accepted the insurer will set about administering the claim for you; a process which includes registering a claim and making appropriate financial reserves in its books of account to cover the cost of the claim.

In a number of cases, insurers will organize to have your vessel repaired and made good; a process which can include salvaging the vessel from awkward and far away situations. Indeed, some insurers who tend to be ‘general’ class insurers as opposed to marine specialists, might prefer to make cash settlements and treat your claim as a financial matter only leaving you to undertake the rigorous and time consuming task of having your vessel repaired and made good.

Paying a claim is the moment of truth for an insurance company because paying claims is what insurance companies do. When an insurance company pays a claim, it is keeping its promise to pay the claims of those who have policies with the insurance company.

United Marine Insurance prefers to arrange marine insurance with specialist marine insurers who have the skill and fortitude to assist in the overall conduct of the claim administration; and where appropriate, assist to administer insurance claims through the repair and make good process so as to ensure your vessel is repaired properly with the least inconvenience possible.

Most jurisdictions have their own ‘consumer laws’ relating to how insurance companies treat their customers. Marine insurance, in some cases, is treated differently because of ‘High Seas’ applications, Admiralty Law Jurisdiction and a wide range of international marine laws which sometimes have an effect on how marine claims are dealt with, most particularly in respect to commercial vessels.

Whereas, pleasure boat claims are usually administered in accordance with ordinary consumer laws in a similar fashion to that of motor vehicle insurance. To learn more about marine insurance facts please click here

The Claims Process

When you advise us that you have had an accident for which you want to make a claim under your marine insurance policy, we will do everything we can to help resolve your claim quickly and with as little inconvenience as possible. As soon as we receive the initial notification of your claim, either by phone/fax or email we will set about providing the details and support required to lodge the claim proper with your insurer. Once full details of the accident and any loss and/or damage are received we will check to see whether the loss or damage is covered under the terms and conditions of your policy. We will also check to see that all premium payments are up to date and that you have complied with any conditions or warranties on your policy. As soon as possible we will tell you whether your claim is covered under your policy although, this is most often the duty of the particular marine insurer who issued your marine insurance policy.

Please remember that while United Marine Insurance Claims team will do our utmost to assist you and to ensure that your claim is handled efficiently and speedily, your vessel remains your responsibility at all times unless informed otherwise by the insurer or their appointed claims surveyor/claims adjuster. Treating Customers Fairly As your insurance intermediary we will endeavour to act in your best interests at all times; we call this our ‘Treating Customers Fairly [TCF] Program which is central to the delivery of our overall insurance services and is a key part of our firm’s ethos. United Marine Insurance has a excellent reputation for helping settling claims fairly and quickly which we are proud of, so please help us to help you, and safeguard your investment. To learn more about United Marine Insurance’s ‘ Treating Customers Fairly Policy’  please click here

Claims Authority

In some cases, we may have delegated authority from your marine insurer to handle your claim and settle it under the terms and conditions of your policy without initial reference to the insurer. If this is the case, you may be assured that we shall handle your claim fairly and quickly – but we can only settle claims that are covered under your policy. If we are unable to reach an agreement with you about the settlement of your claim, your claim will be referred to your insurers for their assessment and decision. If we do not have delegated authority from the insurer to handle your claim directly we shall refer your claim to the insurer who will take over the administration of your claim. Under either scenario we have good lines of communication with all the marine insurers we arrange our customers business with thus, we will be in a position to assist you at all times

Making a Marine Insurance Claim

In the event of an incident which may give rise to a claim please act as if you were the insurance company – meaning do your best to bring the incident under control and make your vessel and any other party’s vessel, including passengers and crew, safe and out of harms way. At the earliest safe opportunity please report the incident to us, or directly to your insurer so that the claim administrative process can commence at the earliest opportunity. If you wish to speak to us, please telephone at our Emergency Claim Helpline number(s). The check list below is not exhaustive but, please follow it as best you can in the circumstances.

Step 1.  Do what you reasonably can to minimize the damage to your vessel and any other vessels or property involved; including ensuring that passengers and crew are safe.

Step 2.  Where theft, vandalism, explosion or fire has occurred you must notify the Police as a priority - and you must get a Police Incident number which you may be asked to provide.

Step 3.  Notify us of the incident as soon as possible, giving a contact phone/fax number and email address; Email Notification and Emergency Claim Helpline number(s).

Step 4.  Don’t agree on any fixed costs for salvage or repair prior to your insurers approval; however, where it is an emergency requiring the vessel to be salvaged immediately in order to prevent further loss from occurring, which is likely or imminent, there is an obligation upon you as the insured to mitigate the loss which means you have to do everything reasonably required in the circumstances to lesson the likelihood of further loss which might mean having to instruct a salver to salvage the vessel prior to obtaining the insurer’s approval. In such case we would ask that you have the salver agree to and sign a Salver’s Open Form which may offer you and the insurers some legal protection against unscrupulous salvers. To download a Salver’s Open Form  please click here If your marine insurance is underwritten by a Lloyds Syndicate or through a Lloyds Agent, please use the Lloyds Open Form; click here.

Step 5. Take photographs and notes of any damage or material evidence to the vessel and send them to us or your insurer, as directed in support of your claim.

Step. 6 In cases of collision, provide us with the name and address of the other party(s) and their insurers if you have been able to obtain that information

Step 7 If your insurers appoint a claims surveyor/claims adjuster to assess the damage, we recommend that you be present when they inspect your vessel. To learn more about marine claims surveyor/claims adjusters please click here
Step 8 Collect all invoices relevant to the claim and forward them to the claims surveyor/claims adjuster or the insurer as soon as possible to achieve a prompt settlement.

Helpful Tips to Consider when Making Your Marine Insurance Claim

Marine Hull Claims

You should complete the enclosed claims forms and return them to us as soon as possible. Do not leave any questions unanswered as this can cause delays. If you are unsure how to complete the form, telephone the Claims Team for advice. If you are able to provide photographs of any damage, please send these as soon as available. Never overestimate your claim, or try to include in your claim any items that were not lost or damaged in the accident for which you are claiming. This can result in the insurers refusing to pay any part of your claim. If you want to have other work done whilst insured damage is being repaired, just make sure that these items are carefully marked on the invoice as additional work/parts. If a surveyor is appointed to assess your claim he will contact you to arrange a convenient time to inspect your boat. We recommend that you try to be there when the surveyor inspects the damage. He can be a source of useful advice and your presence at this first inspection can prevent any misunderstandings later on. However, we do realise that it is not always possible for an owner to be present and there is no obligation on you to attend. You will need to get estimates for the repair or replacement of any items for which you are claiming. These should be submitted to us as soon as possible and they will be checked to ensure that the costs are reasonable and any replacement items are the same or similar to those lost or damaged. If you cannot get identical replacements because they are obsolete, get estimates for current models.

If your boat is located some distance from your home, the surveyor may be able to arrange for you to receive estimates from local repairers, but it is not always possible for the surveyor to do this, and ultimately it is your responsibility. If it is possible, we will liaise with the surveyor for you to try to achieve this. If you want to upgrade lost or damaged items with items that are more expensive, higher quality or have more features the insurers will contribute the cost of a straight replacement and your will need to contribute the additional amount to upgrade the items. If you wish to do this, please mark these items carefully on any estimate and the amount you will contribute. Please bear in mind that if repairs are delayed for any reason outside the control of the insurers – for example, if you do not instruct the repairers to commence work when authorised, or do not obtain estimates for repairs in reasonable time the insurers are not liable for any marina or other storage fees.

When the Damage to your Vessel is the Fault of another Person

If you think that someone else is responsible for the damage to your boat you may wish to claim against their insurance. This can be done in one of two ways.

1.  A direct claim against the other person’s insurance:- You should write directly, if possible, to the person who caused the damage, saying that you are holding them responsible. They should pass this letter to their insurers who may then contact you directly. The other person’s insurers will assess your claim and communicate their response directly to you. If they agree that their policyholder was liable, they will pay your claim directly to you, or will pay the repairers of the damage to your boat. You may also be able to claim for out of pocket expenses you have incurred directly as a result of the incident, so you should keep a note of these. If you need any help with this process, please contact us for assistance. If you have Legal Expenses insurance you can use the insurers’ help-line to speak to a marine solicitor who can offer you advice and can also take up the claim on your behalf. This can be of particular benefit if the person you claim is responsible for the damage is not insured or will not respond to your claim. Your Legal Expenses insurer will also help you if you want to claim against someone who has supplied you with faulty parts or materials or inadequate repairs if that person is not prepared to replace or make good the faults.

2.   Settlement under your hull insurance and a recovery by the insurers:-
If your boat has been damaged in an incident that would be covered under your own hull insurance, for example a collision, but you claim that someone else caused the incident, your claim can be settled under your own hull insurance policy and the insurers may then attempt to recover their costs from the person causing the incident. If your claim is settled in this way the normal processes of a hull claim will apply. A surveyor may be appointed to assess the claim and your policy excess/deductible will be applied to any payments the insurers make. This applies even if you think the incident was not your fault.
Your insurers may then try to recover the settlement from the other person or his insurers. If they do this, we will ask you whether you wish to have any out of pocket expenses included in the claim, and your policy excess/deductible will be included. If the recovery action is successful your policy excess/deductible will be refunded to you, together with any out of pocket expenses that have been met by the third party insurers, and your No Claims Bonus status will be unaffected by the claim. Your insurers are not obliged to attempt a recovery of their costs and may decide not to do so if there is little chance of success or if the cost of the recovery action is potentially greater than the amount they have settled for your claim. In this case your claim will be treated as a normal hull claim, with the relevant excess/deductible applying to the settlement and your No Claims Bonus status will be affected by your claim.

When another person wishes to claim against your insurance for damage or injury they say you caused

If another person makes a claim against you, both you and the person claiming will need to complete claim forms and give independent reports of the incident. As with a hull claim, a surveyor may be appointed to assess the damage on behalf of your insurers. In the case of injury, an independent medical expert may be appointed. You should not admit any liability unless your insurers agree to you doing this. Liability under marine law is complex and you should leave it to your insurers to assess the claim and respond to the claimant. If you receive any correspondence from the claimant or his solicitors or other representatives, please forward this to us and we will respond directly. If the incident involved a racing collision, please send us a copy of the Protest Committee Report if one is available.
If the claimant’s report of the incident varies from your report we shall contact you for further clarification. When the claim has been assessed we shall advise you whether the incident has been found to be your liability or not. We shall advise you if and when we make any payment to settle the claim, and when the claim has been concluded. We shall also advise you of any action taken to defend the claim if your insurers consider that there is no liability under the terms of your policy.

It Pays to be a United Marine Insurance Customer

Your insurance claim going up in flames is the last thing you want to see...

What do you reckon this one hell of an angry claims manager is saying - we know - and it's not pleasant!  
United Marine Insurance, is the specialist marine insurance division of the Rural & General Insurance Broking Group [Australia & New Zealand]

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