//
you're reading...

Driftwood

Give …me…boat insurance

PullingTeethWe are required by the marina to have a certain level of boat insurance and most in the US require it – if not all.  I like insurance, think it’s a good idea to have at least enough to cover a total loss of the boat and any damage I might have done to somebody else’s boat.  I could be at ramming speed as I approach a luxury super yacht and do big money damage and it would be really nice to have insurance for that.

Here’s the problem:  that is some expensive stuff.  I am currently with Boat U.S. and for what I pay in premiums, over less than 10 years I could buy a whole new Driftwood.  Well, that sounds a little high.  I decided to shop around a bit, got a recommendation for Pantaenius.  I went online, filled out the request and the following email exchange occurred yesterday.  The only thing I’m not showing you is the signature and the Pantaenius rep’s name so it flows a little better.

Dear Mr. Wood,

Thank you for considering Pantaenius America for your yacht insurance needs. Unfortunately, due to underwriting guidelines, we must decline your request for coverage.

Once again, we thank you for considering Pantaenius America for your yacht insurance needs and please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions or concerns.

OK, that’s a little vague.  Let’s try for some clarity:

Hi Ms. M,

Can you specify which underwriting guidelines drive this decision? If this is something I could address, I’d like to be aware of it so we could perhaps find a way to insure with you in the future.

The response:

Unfortunately hull value requested is slightly below our guidelines.  Also, due to age of your vessel we would require a recent out of water survey.

ooookaaay.  Let’s try again for just a little clarity:

Thank you!

What is the minimum hull value you insure?  How recent of a hull survey do you need?  I have one from when we bought the boat less than 18 months ago.

 

The full response:

 

Minimum value for vessels above 30.5  is $75,000.  Surveys cannot be older then 3 years of age.

 

OK, now we’re getting somewhere.  How about this Ms M, can we do this:

 

Thank you.  Can you give me a quote for insuring at $75,000?  I have attached the survey from August 21, 2012 to this email.  Many of the issues noted in the recommendations have been addressed:

  • Cockpit sole, foredeck and chainplates repaired
  • Engine issues addressed by seller prior to sale
  • New batteries
  • CNG replaced with propane
  • New VHF
  • New flares
  • Retro fit tank in aft lazarette completed
The answer is “No”:

 

Unfortunately fair market value on survey is $70,000 so it is below our guidelines.  Sorry.

 

But, like I said, I got a lot of motivation here to find something cheaper.  How about we do this:

 

I understand.  I can get another survey that shows a $5,000 increase in market value since we have added thousands of dollars in state of the art electronics, new arch/davit system, completed a galley refit, refit of both heads, etc.  The boat is significantly upgraded since the survey and would have a market value exceeding $75,000.

If you can work with that, and give me a idea if it would be worth the effort and expense to commission the survey, I’d  move forward with one.

 

The response from Ms M:

 

I will ask our Underwriting Department to do that but I will need you to go back online and complete a new submission form.  Sorry!!!

 

OK, no worries.  I can do that.  I’ll put it at $76,000 insured value and see what we get.  Go through it all again and this morning I get this response from Ms M:

 

Dear Mr.  Wood,

Thank you for considering Pantaenius America for your yacht insurance needs. Unfortunately, due to underwriting guidelines, we must decline your request for coverage.

Once again, we thank you for considering Pantaenius America for your yacht insurance needs and please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions or concerns.

It’s the exact same form letter that started this exchange, we’ve gone full circle…literally.  Could I be exchanging emails with a email bot and not a real person?

I went over a number of responses in my mind, including simply cutting a pasting my first email response to Ms M and sending that back to her.  I may do that yet just to see if we can have the exact same conversation again but I dunno, that may be more freaky than funny.  Getting details, going through their process, it’s like pulling teeth.

Marine insurance reviews in Cruiser’s Forum are very mixed, some people love a company, some people have horror stories about the exact same company.  It’s all over the place and Pantaenius is no exception.  But here’s the thing I’m asking myself, if I have to work this hard, wade through this many form emails, fight this obtuse customer service, just to get myself in a position where they will take my money what will they do if I’m ever in the unfortunate position I need to file a claim?

I understand that it probably comes down to the survey’s stated value.  I really do.  But come on, can’t we do something to get a estimate?  I’ll redo the survey and get it above the limit 100% for sure, I just want to get an idea if it’s worth it to me to do that.

I just decided, I’m going to make another run at it and just make up a whole new boat that’s suspiciously similar to mine and see what happens.  Going with these guys would be a long shot now, they seem way too process driven to actually take care of me when things go bad without a ton of pain and frustration but I’d just like to get a idea if I’m overpaying for insurance and by how much.

Discussion

One Response to “Give …me…boat insurance”

  1. Hi Gary,

    I checked with Pantaenius about insurance and they mucked it up twice in a row, (‘we have two web sites, one we don’t monitor much’ so after following up by phone twice I finally got a quote. Interestingly when I asked about the upgrades I’m doing being insured they said:

    “In regards to the valuation of the vessel, once the upgrades are completed, we will need a new Valuation survey to evidence the hull value. Upon receipt of that survey and its approval, I will gladly revise the quotation accordingly.”

    Overall my experience with marine renovation (and I have done about 5 major home renovations) is that you the customer have to work really hard to get stuff done in the marine world. It’s nuts, but customer is anything but king. I chalk it up to everything being specialized and therefore immune to competitive pressure…

    Posted by Carl | October 3, 2014, 11:56 PM

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: