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What Is Marine Insurance?

Marine Insurance 101

September 25, 2023

One of the oldest types of coverage in the world, the ocean marine insurance that we know today, was born in the 1600s out of merchants’ desire to protect themselves from the heavy losses they could face in an age when shipping was a very dangerous venture. While some industry risks went out with the wooden ship, vessel owners today still face a large amount of risk, making ocean marine insurance just as important as ever.

Over the years, ocean marine insurance has expanded to provide more and more loss protection. It’s crucial to consider whether you’re appropriately covered or if there are gaps that could leave your business vulnerable.

What is Marine Insurance?

Ocean marine insurance covers various risks and perils associated with transporting goods and cargo over water. Over time, this coverage has evolved to encompass an array of maritime sectors, extending its benefits to a diverse range of marine service providers. This includes ship repairers, terminal operators, boat manufacturers, marinas, port authorities and more, all of which play crucial roles in the maritime ecosystem.

Beyond its broad scope, ocean marine insurance caters to the unique needs of vessel owners by constituting not just a singular form of coverage but multiple types of coverage. This array of coverages is strategically designed to tackle the primary areas of potential loss encountered by those who own and operate vessels.

Admiralty & United States Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation (USL&H)

At the heart of the ocean marine insurance landscape, Admiralty and United States Longshore & Harbor Worker's Compensation (USL&H) coverage is indispensable in safeguarding the well-being of those dedicated to maritime professions. Admiralty and United States Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (USL&H) coverage is crucial to ocean marine insurance. In an industry where every voyage and operation carries inherent risks, this coverage emerges as a cornerstone for protecting the safety of employees and crew members who navigate the challenges of the open waters and maritime environments.

Admiralty coverage, often called crew coverage, is a lifeline for maritime operations, extending its protective reach to encompass the captain and crew in service to a vessel. This vital coverage addresses legal liabilities arising from maritime accidents, injuries and environmental damages, ensuring the well-being of those who navigate the seas to keep maritime ventures afloat.

USL&H coverage provides crucial benefits to workers engaged in maritime occupations, safeguarding them from work-related injuries and occupational diseases. Shipbuilders, dock workers, longshoremen and other marine industry employees benefit from these coverage types, ensuring that employers and workers are adequately protected in the challenging maritime working environment. Failing to secure adequate coverage in terms of status (the location of the work) and status (the nature of the worker's job) could result in federal penalties.

Ocean Marine Liability Coverage

Marine liability coverage is a specialized insurance that protects maritime businesses against various liability and legal obligations from maritime industry operations. Typically, the coverage addresses the challenges and potential liabilities faced by companies involved in maritime activities, including vessel owners, ship operators, cargo handlers, marinas and more.

Third-Party Liability, including Products and Completed Operations

Marine liability coverage primarily focuses on third-party liability involving claims made by individuals or entities outside the insured company. These claims can include bodily injury, property damage or economic losses caused by the insured's maritime operations. Consider a recreational boat manufacturer that produces and sells boats to customers. If a manufacturing defect in one of the boats leads to an accident while it's in use, causing injuries to passengers and damage to other boats, this coverage would protect the manufacturer from legal claims related to the faulty product and its impact on completed operations.

MOLL (Marine Operators Legal Liability)

MOLL coverage is a component of marine liability insurance that specifically addresses the legal liabilities faced by operators of vessels. It offers protection against claims arising from collisions, accidents and other incidents involving the insured vessel.

SRLL (Ship Repairers Legal Liability)

SRLL coverage is designed for ship repairers and shipyards. It protects against liabilities arising while working on vessels undergoing repairs or maintenance, including damage to the vessel itself or other third-party vessels.

Terminal Operators Legal Liability (TOLL)

TOLL coverage is tailored for terminal operators responsible for cargo handling, storage and other operations at marine terminals. It covers liabilities arising from accidents, cargo damage and other incidents within the terminal premises.

Defense Coverage

A significant advantage of marine liability coverage is that it often includes defense coverage. This means the insurance provider will cover the legal costs of defending against liability claims, including legal fees, court costs and settlements or judgments.

Protection and Indemnity Coverage

Protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance covers a broad spectrum of liabilities that vessel owners and operators may face. This includes liabilities arising from crew injuries, passenger claims, cargo damage, pollution incidents, collision liabilities, wreck removal and legal expenses related to contractual disputes.

P&I insurance covers liabilities from collisions with other vessels, docks, piers or fixed structures. It includes property damage to other vessels, structures and property caused by the insured vessel.

Like marine liability coverage, P&I insurance often includes coverage for legal defense costs, including legal fees, court costs, settlements and judgments related to covered liability claims.

Ocean Marine Hull Coverage

Ocean marine hull coverage provides a safety net for various vessels, not limited to ocean-going commercial crafts alone. While ocean vessels certainly benefit from this coverage, it also extends its protective reach to other types of vessels, including tugboats, barges, floating equipment and even fixed properties, such as offshore oil rigs and installations.

Regardless of the waters your vessel navigates, this coverage protects it from the financial repercussions of physical damage. Ocean marine hull coverage is specifically designed to address physical damage to your vessel, including damage from collisions, accidents, grounding, fires, sinking and other covered perils.

In addition to the vessel’s hull, this coverage extends to the operating equipment and machinery on board. This coverage, from engines to navigation systems and cargo handling equipment, protects your vessel’s essential components.

Ocean Marine Cargo Coverage

The cargo journey across waterways is fraught with uncertainties, ranging from rough seas to unforeseen accidents. Ocean marine cargo coverage is pivotal in alleviating these uncertainties for maritime clients. This specialized coverage protects goods transported via sea routes, safeguarding them from the risks of physical damage, theft and other forms of loss.

For maritime clients, the importance of cargo insurance is evident. Consider a scenario where a shipment of valuable merchandise is en route, exposed to the unpredictable elements of the open waters. A sudden storm or mishap can lead to damage or loss, potentially translating into significant financial setbacks. Ocean marine cargo coverage steps in to provide a safety net, ensuring that the value of the cargo is protected, regardless of the challenges it encounters during transit.

Moreover, cargo insurance addresses the risk of physical damage and the broader spectrum of potential loss events. From theft during transport to damage caused by mishandling, this coverage comprehensively guards against the multitude of perils that cargo may face on its journey.

Policies can be tailored to specific needs, offering coverage duration and scope flexibility. Whether insuring individual shipments or opting for open policies that cover multiple shipments within a defined period, maritime clients can navigate their cargo ventures with the assurance that their valuable goods are shielded against the uncertainties of maritime transport.

Docks, Piers and Wharves Coverage

Docks, piers and wharves are the vital connectors facilitating maritime operations, serving as crucial points for cargo handling, vessel embarkation and commercial activities. Docks, piers and wharves insurance is a specialized coverage tailored to protect maritime business owners' assets and income streams who rely on these structures. This insurance not only safeguards physical structures but also protects against potential financial losses arising from interruptions in business operations.

Docks, piers and wharves insurance offers coverage against physical damage caused by a range of perils, including storms, collisions, and accidents. This coverage mitigates repair or replacement costs, preventing potential financial strain on the maritime business.

One of the critical aspects of this coverage is business income interruption protection. If a covered event, such as a storm, renders the docks or piers inoperable, resulting in a suspension of business activities, this insurance can help compensate for the resulting loss of income. It assists in covering ongoing expenses and mitigates financial hardships during downtime.

Bumbershoot Coverage

Bumbershoot coverage serves as a crucial shield for maritime businesses, offering a unique layer of excess liability protection. It extends its coverage over maritime-specific risks and nonmarine aspects of operations, including auto liability, general liability and employers' liability. This comprehensive coverage plays a pivotal role in enhancing the security and resilience of maritime business owners.

Bumbershoot coverage steps in when the limits of underlying policies are exhausted due to a significant claim. It acts as an excess layer of protection, ensuring that a catastrophic event doesn't expose your business to potentially devastating financial consequences.

The maritime industry operates within a complex ecosystem of interconnected risks. Bumbershoot coverage caters to this complexity by offering a seamless solution that covers multiple facets of your business. From vessel operations to onshore activities, this coverage ensures that operations are shielded comprehensively, reducing vulnerabilities.

Property & Casualty Coverage

Maritime businesses recognize the multifaceted nature of their operations and the diverse array of risks they face. Beyond specialized maritime coverage, they also require protection for property, auto, crime, cyber and business interruption risks.

Navigating the vast expanse of the open waters and the intricacies of marine insurance can seem daunting. At Hylant, we understand the unique challenges and risks that the maritime industry presents. Our team of seasoned marine insurance experts is here to provide the guidance and support you need to navigate these waters confidently. With a deep understanding of the complex regulatory landscape, industry trends, and evolving risks, our marine professionals are your trusted partners in securing a safer and more secure future for your maritime endeavors. By choosing Hylant, you're choosing a partner dedicated to your success, ensuring that your operations stay afloat despite challenges.

Connect with us today to learn more about how Hylant's marine specialty can help you navigate the world of marine insurance.

The above information does not constitute advice. Always contact your insurance broker or trusted advisor for insurance-related questions.

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