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Insurance against insurance companies?

As a reminder: A Slovakian recreational skipper chartered a 44-foot sailing yacht in Croatia for a vacation cruise with friends. In the Kornati, he moored his boat to a mooring buoy in front of a restaurant. As the weather was good, the crew stayed overnight and hiked up the famous Opat mountain the next morning to enjoy the view of the sea and the surrounding islands. Even after the wind picked up steadily, the group continued on their way without a care in the world, as the boat was safely moored at the buoy. Unfortunately not – because a short time later it ran aground on the rocks – total loss!
The culprit was obviously a chafed mooring line. But the cause was never investigated in depth. And why should they, because the Croatian hull insurer simply sent the skipper an invoice for the full value of the ship.
YACHT-POOL immediately took over the defense of the innocence of the skipper and his crew – fortunately, the skipper had taken out skipper’s liability insurance with YACHT-POOL Slovakia. Quick and professional action was required, as the behavior of the Croatian hull insurer was unusually aggressive and uncompromising. The skipper was accused of guilt without consultation and without justification and asked to pay the € 144,655 within 8 days.

YACHT-POOL rejected the Croatian hull insurer’s brazen claim with precise and equally uncompromising clarification. With success: the insurer waived his claim and the skipper only had to make a few phone calls to YACHT-POOL.

Skipper’s liability insurance – insurance against insurance?

Definitely yes! This example shows impressively that such a demand by an insurer is made with a tough intention. Even if the charter customer does not pay immediately, the insurer’s legal department believes that there is at least a good chance of reaching a settlement – because the charter customer is pressed for time. The insurer demands 15% interest on arrears from the date of the accident until a settlement is reached! And this can take time:

YACHT-POOL recently won a case for a client in Greece. After 2 instances and 5 years of negotiations (we will report shortly)!

When the harbor is too shallow – Another exemplary case

This case of damage is an example of several similar cases from last season: a German crew had a problem with the genoa furling system of their Oceanis 45 in strong winds off the south coast of Mallorca. In order to be protected from the prevailing high waves and stormy winds, the skipper decided to head for a sheltered harbor to fix the furling problem. However, in the hectic and difficult conditions, the depth information on the nautical chart was misinterpreted. The yacht ran aground. After being towed free by other ships, the crew was able to continue their journey.

Rude awakening 1 – Retention of the deposit

After returning to base, the damage turned out to be considerable and the deposit of €2,000 was retained. Fortunately, the prudent skipper had taken precautions with charter deposit insurance from YACHT-POOL. They refunded the deposit minus the €100 excess without hesitation. The skipper and crew were already pleased that this accident had ended without too much trouble – but not for long!

A rude awakening 2 – recourse claim by the comprehensive insurer

Almost 4 months after the trip, the skipper received a letter from the well-known German hull insurer of the charter vessel. An expert opinion revealed that the skipper had clearly breached his duty of care when he attempted to enter the harbor with a draft greater than the water depth. Damage and expert costs amounted to €10,234.54 – payable within 4 weeks.

And again:

Skipper liability insurance as insurance against insurance!

This skipper may have made a gross mistake during the hectic navigation, but he had done everything right when choosing his insurance: in addition to the charter deposit insurance, he had also taken out skipper liability insurance, skipper legal expenses insurance and consequential loss insurance. YACHT-POOL immediately took over the skipper’s defense and after a short time was able to reach an out-of-court settlement on a 50:50 basis. YACHT-POOL not only took over the defense, but also paid the reduced recourse claim of the hull insurer (minus the deductible).

What do we learn from such cases?

Nobody would think of driving a car on the road without liability insurance – it is just as unacceptable to charter a boat without skipper liability insurance. Even the frequently expressed opinion of some skippers doesn’t help: “I’ve been chartering with the same company for years and am practically friends with them”. Because in cases like the one described, (mostly foreign) insurers and lawyers are your opponents! Without skipper’s liability insurance, success for the other side would certainly have been “economically fatal” for most skippers.


Supplement your insurance cover at the last minute with skipper liability insurance. The YACHT-POOL crew is always at your disposal! Just send us an e-mail or give us a call!

Dr. Friedrich Schöchl

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