Maritime Insurance: Sponsor Interview

Meet Morgan Wells from Jack Martin & Associates

Diane MacDonald-Mackenzie had an opportunity to chat with Morgan Wells from Jack Martin and Associates. He shared some great information regarding Maritime insurance today.

Please introduce yourself to our readers and share a bit about how you got into the Maritime Insurance Industry.

Since 1929, Jack Martin & Associates has provided boat, yacht, and marine insurance throughout the US and worldwide. I have been a Yacht Insurance Specialist for Jack Martin & Associates for over 32 years and am an independent insurance agent, specializing exclusively in yacht insurance. I love this business  and can  relate well with my clients because I am also  a lifelong sailor with an extensive resume of both yacht racing and passage making. In addition to extensive cruising on the U.S. East and West coasts, I have sailed to Bermuda a few times, the entire Caribbean, Mexico, Southeast Asia, and an Indian Ocean crossing from Thailand to Yemen and up the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.

What are the current trends in Maritime Insurance? 

The present boat and yacht insurance markets are very tight, with limited options, and much higher premium pricing than in past years, a trend that started in 2018 after years of soft pricing and easy underwriting.  Certainly, the risk of Windstorm and associated winds, surge and flooding are a significant factor along with the cost of repairs following a claim which have risen dramatically over the past several years.

Lightning claims are a good example of the cost of repairs. Lightning is a very large cause of claims particularly for sailboats. Two lightning strike claims come to mind: a 58’ catamaran struck twice in the past 2 years with each claim over a few hundred thousand, a Privilege 745 catamaran with lightning claim of landing at 1.6 million, and a Catana 47 lightning claim of over 250K which was almost a constructive total loss, too!

What has changed over the past few years?

Over the past few years, several companies have closed their doors or canceled contracts. Others have tightened underwriting guidelines and increased premium pricing. It’s getting harder to place policies particularly for ocean voyagers.

What are the most important factors regarding premium pricing?

The “Navigation Warranty” of the insurance quote or policy is the largest factor determining your premium. This is based on the primary vessel location for hurricane season, right down to the zip code in some cases, and also based on your anticipated itinerary for the future 12-month policy period. The vessel location for hurricane season is the single greatest factor determining the insurance pricing, terms, and conditions.

What is the most important thing our members should know today about their Maritime insurance Policy?

At least annually or more frequently as your cruising plans change, review your itinerary and primary location for hurricane season with your agent. To reduce premium, you may wish to consider reducing the vessel insured value to a realistic fair market value and / or increasing the vessel deductible.

 At least 2 months prior to your renewal or in advance of any voyage, prepare an itinerary, sailing / boating resumes for you and your primary crew, and provide the most recent survey reports.

 Thank you to Jack Martin for being a Salty Dawg Sponsor.

To contact Morgan Wells email: [email protected]