What Can We Expect Next? – Sooner rather than later, the installation of a GPS monitoring system will be mandatory for theft or misappropriation coverage to be included in the standard yacht insurance policy.  In view of the increasing instances of theft Insurance Companies have been considering various options that would limit their exposure.

The simplest option would be to exclude theft coverage unless the insured vessel is kept in a marina which has restricted general public access and 24/7 security. In addition, absentee owners who leave their vessels unattended would have to produce a “caretaker’ agreement to evidence their vessel has regular and adequate supervision.    This secure marina warranty would also apply if the vessel was away from its home port, so the owner would have to ensure the vessel is always moored in a safe haven. If these requirements could not be met, it is likely that Insurers would refuse theft coverage or apply a punitive deductible in the event of loss – some are suggesting one third of the insured value.

The favored option is that all vessels, even runabouts and ribs, should be fitted with an approved tracking device, although this would not relieve the owner of the responsibility of keeping the vessel in a safe and secure environment.   The installation of a tracking device would not necessarily reflect a reduction in the insurance premium but would be a prerequisite for full theft coverage with a modest or no deductible.

Most charter fleets have or are in the process of having trackers installed, primarily to limit the chances of their vessels being misappropriated by errant charterers, but private owners seem to have a reluctance to invest in additional security to protect their property despite the relatively low installation and running costs.   Regretfully, with increasing theft losses and a reducing recovery rate there will soon be no option.

Stormy Times Ahead? – Another season without any serious storm activity anywhere near the BVI.   Insurers breathe a sigh of relief, and clients hope for lower premiums next year!  Dream on… Without wishing to bore you, Re-insurers (the ones who insure Insurance Companies) will, if you give them a chance, explain in great detail how they need 85 cents of every premium dollar you pay to build up their depleted reserves.   They will blind you with statistics showing how many billions they paid out in the 2005 hurricane season.   So don’t expect lower premiums.   At best you can expect a modest cost of living increase. – That’s the bad news.

So what’s the good news?   We were amused to learn that one innovative product is now in the offing, which is to provide insurance coverage which kicks in at the approach of a Named Storm.   The coverage will provide entire families with an air evacuation package, including the additional expense of accommodation.   If you are living in somewhere low lying like the Cayman Islands or the Bahamas – then this coverage may find your favor.   Full marks to the creator of this new product.

Food For Thought – Meanwhile, the health insurance industry in the BVI is wondering whether the new VIP Government will adopt, modify, or shelve the previous Government’s National Health Insurance Plan.   Time will tell.

One thought for automobile owners – check the amount of bodily injury and property damage liability coverage you have on your policy.   With rising bodily injury claims, you may not have a realistic amount of coverage.   The BVI legal minimum limits of $25,000.00 per person, $75,000.00 bodily injury liability, and $30,000.00 property damage liability are fine as a minimum, but how many serious bodily injury claims are made under $25,000.00 these days?  You may want to consider increasing your bodily injury liability to $300,000, $500,000 or even $1,000,000 to help protect your assets.

For homeowners – check the amount of insurance on your dwelling.   When did you last increase it?  Check with your friendly builder and find out how much per square foot you would have to pay today to rebuild your house.   It is a simple matter to measure the number of square feet you have in your house.   Then do the math…  The results may surprise you!

Contact a helpful agent at Caribbean Insurers Ltd. to assist with all of your insurance needs.  Please visit our new and improved website at www.caribbeaninsurers.com or www.caribbins.com for more information about all of our available insurance products.