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Old 27 November 2007, 08:14   #1
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Freelance Insurance

What insurance is available for freelance skippers?

Not just for instructors, but individuals driving workboats & passenger vessels (including +12 passengers) in C & D waters.

Some companies, have recommended employment 'On the books' only, rather than take the risk of freelance.

Any info/views welcome.
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Old 27 November 2007, 08:41   #2
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as far as I know a vessel owners insurance can cover any suitably qualified skippers, and if you have a contract make sure that is written in. If you are doing a private delivery you definitely want to put the onus of insurance on to the vessel owners.

1st wave carries a commercial insurance policy which provides myself and employees/subbies with 8 meg of third party liability, which we arranged through John Goodacre at Fastnet insurance, and I can't reccomend him enough in terms of understanding what you need and knowing the pitfalls etc. http://www.fastnet-marine.co.uk/

Also the prime small commercial boat insures are Bristol Channel Marine who I think are from Taff's Well and I've heard nothing but good stuff about Tony from the tuggies I work with. http://www.bc-marineinsurance.co.uk/aboutus.html

Avoid anybody who mentions Norwich Union or Sailplan it won't work for you
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Old 27 November 2007, 16:43   #3
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Good info - however, will it work in practice?

[QUOTE=Rogue Wave;228619] as far as I know a vessel owners insurance can cover any suitably qualified skippers, and if you have a contract make sure that is written in. If you are doing a private delivery you definitely want to put the onus of insurance on to the vessel owners.

1st wave carries a commercial insurance policy which provides myself and employees/subbies with 8 meg of third party liability, which we arranged through John Goodacre at Fastnet insurance, and I can't reccomend him enough in terms of understanding what you need and knowing the pitfalls etc. http://www.fastnet-marine.co.uk/

Also the prime small commercial boat insures are Bristol Channel Marine who I think are from Taff's Well and I've heard nothing but good stuff about Tony from the tuggies I work with. http://www.bc-marineinsurance.co.uk/aboutus.html

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The problem I seem to hit, is that of being freelance.
(what is a subbie 'exactly'?)

The vessel owners insurance, unless in some cases working 'on the books' rather than invoicing, seems not always to cover against 3rd party claims.

Possible actions by insurance companies against any freelance skipper, under 'gross negligence' -a relatively 'new' term, can be extremely expensive (as found out by the skipper of the fairline that hit a Needles buoy - 85% of boat value).

We don't ever intend 'gross negligence', but that skipper also probably thought he was covered by the vessel owners insurance. OK this incident was a delivery, but is now written into maritime law as a precedent!

Insurance companies rarely like to pay out without a fight.
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Old 27 November 2007, 17:39   #4
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Alan - the term "Subcontractor" will be fairly well defined in law. It generally refers to any person (or organisation) undertaking work on your behalf which you could (in principal) do yourself. [even if you are not qualified to do it yourself]

The situation you describe with regard gross negligence is, I think, irrelevant as the insurer could still claim gross negligence even if it was the owner sailing the vessel. I believe it will be impossible to obtain insurance which actually covers you for gross negligence - as that would effectively mean you can be as stupid as you want - and the insurer pays out.
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Old 28 November 2007, 12:43   #5
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Polwart is right - there are many cases of insured vessels, both private and commercial, where the insurers have refused to pay out due to the actions of the captain / crew / policyholder.

If you're working for yourself in any substantial way, I'd always recommend forming your own ltd company. Its not hard, there are plenty of registration agents via the web, and the limited status will give you better protection against being sued, as you are no longer an individual. Doesn't work for criminal negligence though!

A good professional indemnity cover is also a good idea if you're giving out any form of advice.
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Old 28 November 2007, 14:44   #6
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[QUOTE=Polwart;228655] Alan - the term "Subcontractor" will be fairly well defined in law. It generally refers to any person (or organisation) undertaking work on your behalf which you could (in principal) do yourself. [even if you are not qualified to do it yourself]

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OK, I know what I believe a subbie is, but just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page etc.

Not all Principals (or organisations) have covered freelances/subbies fully or at all.
Or, they believe they have them covered, but are never completely sure when asked.

Best way to lose a job, is to stick your heels in whilst awaiting said evidence of any such cover.
Plenty of competitors out there who can't be bothered or even care about insurance, either from ignorance or belief in 'it will never happen to me' syndrome.
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Old 29 November 2007, 11:35   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alant1 View Post
Best way to lose a job, is to stick your heels in whilst awaiting said evidence of any such cover.
Plenty of competitors out there who can't be bothered or even care about insurance, either from ignorance or belief in 'it will never happen to me' syndrome.
Fair point, but would you rather be reading about the MAIB enquiry, or be involved in it?

There are times when walking away and letting the cowboy do the job is the right thing long term...
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Old 30 November 2007, 13:53   #8
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What did John and Tony say?
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