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Old 09-17-2020, 10:51 AM   #1
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Boat US Insurance-Longshore Liability Exclusion

I just received my renewal policy from Geico/Boat US and noticed that it no longer provides liability coverage for Longshore and Harbor Workers' claims. This coverage was included on my last policy but is specifically excluded in section C-9 of the new policy. There was no notice of this change. I has to dig to find this out. I called and was informed it was a policy change and there is no option to ad the coverage. Did anyone else have this issue? Is this common on other policies? While unlikely, I am worried that I could be exposed to a 905b claim while in a shipyard. Thanks for any feedback.
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Old 09-17-2020, 10:59 AM   #2
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Hopefully Paul (Pau Hanna) can help....


Would normal liability take care of that issue?


Saw this tidbit on the web.... "Yes. You will need Longshore insurance for workers who perform any work on commercial vessels, even if most of their work is on recreational vessels. Only those workers who work exclusively on recreational vessels are not covered by the Act."
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Old 09-17-2020, 11:22 AM   #3
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Saving money a bad thing? I am not sure what this is. Funding the union?
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Old 09-17-2020, 12:29 PM   #4
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It doesnít surprise me that those Ď Best Price Ď marine underwriters would pull back on certain P&I coverages like the LHWCA. These used to fall under the heading of special endorsements for commercial fishing and yachts that penetrated a certain market value. If you dig into the case histories and coverage/claim details it will make your head spin, at least mine.

The Act as written was I believe targeted for losses and injuries not covered by the Jones Act but it seems like it has morphed and expanded in synch with the legal industryís penchant for creative interpretation. So given the fact that defending a claim means Admiralty or Federal Court ($$$) Iím not least surprised itís was withdrawn. These lightweight companies rarely if ever have this kind of legal expertise in house. So, sorry for the pun, this kind of coverage is out of their wheelhouse. If this is the case then of course they wonít write it no matter what you pay. If not already youíre going to see pollution endorsements dwindle or dropped like black mold in flood zones.

Ask around and find a full house marine underwriter with a menu and policy that fits you. Youíll pay a bit more but like they say you donít know anything about your agent or the company until you file a claim. You should be able to set down with your agent and get real answers to any of your questions. If there is a loss the agent should be right alongside as your advocate with the company. He is working for you not the company. The agent gets paid out of your premium.
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Old 09-17-2020, 12:49 PM   #5
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I'll be interested in Pau Hana's comments as well. A successful 905 (b) claim against a small boat owner would be extremely rare and difficult. The standard of proof of boat owner's liability is very high. However, that doesn't mean you can't be sued and incur significant legal fees. This is really a strange section of law and intended only to apply to larger boats and ships and only when the owner fails to exercise turnover duty by turning over a dangerous boat, active-control duty, by still doing something dangerous while boat in their care, or duty to intervene by not rectifying a known danger.

First, anyone covered by the act is unlikely to be involved with your boat. Second, unlikely to have a case against you.

What strikes me though is if the chance of a successful claim is minimal, then why remove the coverage.

I applaud you for checking your new policy against your old.
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Old 09-17-2020, 12:53 PM   #6
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It doesnít surprise me that those Ď Best Price Ď marine underwriters would pull back on certain P&I coverages like the LHWCA. These used to fall under the heading of special endorsements for commercial fishing and yachts that penetrated a certain market value. If you dig into the case histories and coverage/claim details it will make your head spin, at least mine.

The Act as written was I believe targeted for losses and injuries not covered by the Jones Act but it seems like it has morphed and expanded in synch with the legal industryís penchant for creative interpretation. So given the fact that defending a claim means Admiralty or Federal Court ($$$) Iím not least surprised itís was withdrawn. These lightweight companies rarely if ever have this kind of legal expertise in house. So, sorry for the pun, this kind of coverage is out of their wheelhouse. If this is the case then of course they wonít write it no matter what you pay. If not already youíre going to see pollution endorsements dwindle or dropped like black mold in flood zones.

Ask around and find a full house marine underwriter with a menu and policy that fits you. Youíll pay a bit more but like they say you donít know anything about your agent or the company until you file a claim. You should be able to set down with your agent and get real answers to any of your questions. If there is a loss the agent should be right alongside as your advocate with the company. He is working for you not the company. The agent gets paid out of your premium.
You just called Geico a lightweight company unlikely to have the legal expertise?

While I agree with your endorsement of major marine underwriters and of independent brokers, this policy is definitely not coming from a lightweight or someone who doesn't write huge amounts of marine coverage.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:48 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feed back. I agree that a potential LHWCA claim is rare, but I am more interested in the liability protection my policy provides for those rare events than the hull insurance. It is disappointing that they dropped the coverage without any notification. I am checking with other brokers for alternatives to Boat US/Geico, but with all the storm activity, I may not be able to bind anything before my current policy expires. I may be stuck for now...
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Old 09-18-2020, 08:43 AM   #8
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Greetings, all!

Happy Friday!

Just had a long chat with the folks at GEICO; the removal of LHWCA coverage by GEICO was made based on the definitions under Title 33 Chapter 18. From the DOL:

https://www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/lsins...0occur%20there.

You need insurance if you are an employer with employees covered under the Longshore Act (LHWCA) and its extensions. The LHWCA covers employees in traditional maritime occupations such as longshore workers, ship-repairers, shipbuilders or ship-breakers, and harbor construction workers, but only if they are employed to work on the navigable waters of the United States or in the adjoining areas, including piers, docks, terminals, wharves, and those areas used in loading and unloading vessels. Non-maritime employees may also need to be covered if they perform their work on navigable water and their injuries occur there.

You do not require insurance for your employees if they fall under the following exclusions:
  • Seamen (masters or members of a crew of any vessel);
  • Employees of the United States government or of any state or foreign government;

The LHWCA also excludes the following individuals if they are covered by a state workers' compensation law:
  • Individuals employed exclusively to perform office clerical, secretarial, security, or data processing work;
  • Individuals employed by a club, camp, recreational operation, restaurant, museum, or retail outlet;
  • Individuals employed by a marina and who are not engaged in construction, replacement, or expansion of such marina (except for routine maintenance);
  • Individuals who (A) are employed by suppliers, transporters, or vendors, (B) are temporarily doing business on the premises of a maritime employer, and (C) are not engaged in work normally performed by employees of that employer covered under the Act;
  • Aquaculture workers;
  • Individuals employed to build any recreational vessel under sixty-five feet in length, or to repair any recreational vessel, or to dismantle any part of a recreational vessel in connection with the repair of such vessel;
  • Small vessel workers if exempt by certification of the Secretary of Labor under certain conditions.

All states have workers' compensation laws, therefore the LHWCA coverage (by Federal definition) is excluded.

The section above in red is the part that would be of concern to recreational marine vessel owners- however, as there are workers comp coverage in all states, there is really no footing for a claim. That said, a lawsuit may be filed against you, but the bar is set very high and it's likely the lawsuit will not go anywhere.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Pau Hana View Post

The section above in red is the part that would be of concern to recreational marine vessel owners- however, as there are workers comp coverage in all states, there is really no footing for a claim. That said, a lawsuit may be filed against you, but the bar is set very high and it's likely the lawsuit will not go anywhere.
It is my understanding that suit against a third party can still be filed under 905 (b) but only can prevail if the shipowner is considered negligent and it requires proof of Duty, Breach, Injury and Causation. Reading websites of plaintiff's attorneys, they don't offer longshoremen a lot of hope in that regard. It does seem that Louisiana is the spot of the most filings.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:28 AM   #10
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Boat US is now Geico. I am dealing with them on two of my boats at this time. HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORROR. I will never deal with another company that does not have an address that I can't drive my truck through the front door. The absolute worse company I have ever dealt with. That is all I can say without poisoning my brain and heart to the point of suicide or a mass killing. Incompetence should be the name.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:32 AM   #11
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It is my understanding that suit against a third party can still be filed under 905 (b) but only can prevail if the shipowner is considered negligent and it requires proof of Duty, Breach, Injury and Causation. Reading websites of plaintiff's attorneys, they don't offer longshoremen a lot of hope in that regard. It does seem that Louisiana is the spot of the most filings.
Correct, to the best of my knowledge. In my time at GEICO, I saw plenty of claims, but I cannot recall ever seeing or hearing of any claims or settlements regarding LHWCA coverage.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:47 AM   #12
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As a marine forensic expert ( retired ) but still hired occasionally by several marine underwriters and/or related parties , I can tell you itís not all that difficult to file suit against these companies. You push the legal process to the courtroom steps and almost always there is a cash settlement. Insurance companies do not want to go to trial as their record of wins and losses is abysmal. Some states like CA, Fl, NY and MA are an impossible legal footing for anything but a slam dunk case, and even then most of the public/jurors harbor a resentment for the industry. You cannot set a 100% neutral jury when it comes to insurance.

Iíve been involved in cases where the suit was filed with several parties named but there were John Does 1 thru 10 left open by the attorney hoping to fill them in as the discovery phase develops. Most companies will play the game for a while but would rather push for a settlement and move on. Such behavior really only encourages these often frivolous suits. As a private boat owner without suitable coverage even a mistrial or dismissal will cost you a ton of money. Remember folks large yacht owners represent untapped funds to a hungry and resourceful attorney. Go find coverage.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:57 AM   #13
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Remember folks large yacht owners represent untapped funds to a hungry and resourceful attorney. Go find coverage.
But you just hit a key term there, large yacht owners. They would be far more likely to have risk to longshoremen than trawler owners. They are the ones who might have boats handled by longshoremen and the ones likely to be attractive targets.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:58 AM   #14
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Boat US is now Geico. I am dealing with them on two of my boats at this time. HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORROR. I will never deal with another company that does not have an address that I can't drive my truck through the front door. The absolute worse company I have ever dealt with. That is all I can say without poisoning my brain and heart to the point of suicide or a mass killing. Incompetence should be the name.
Maybe go through an independent broker...my experience with them has been quite pleasant and a breeze.

Had to switch to them because my last great marine insurance company offered NO insurance to keep a boat in Fl during hurricane season.
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Old 09-18-2020, 10:15 AM   #15
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But you just hit a key term there, large yacht owners. They would be far more likely to have risk to longshoremen than trawler owners. They are the ones who might have boats handled by longshoremen and the ones likely to be attractive targets.
I understand and perhaps I was just assuming most boat owners on this site were running more tonnage. After going through the pages and pages of big gorgeous cruising boats in the Ď interesting boats Ď thread I probably just lost my senses of proportion. I spent my life working on them and for them but never could afford them.

Regards
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Old 09-18-2020, 11:21 AM   #16
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But you just hit a key term there, large yacht owners. They would be far more likely to have risk to longshoremen than trawler owners. They are the ones who might have boats handled by longshoremen and the ones likely to be attractive targets.
ASD is 48ft. There are folks out there that think I am a large yacht owner and thus rich......
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Old 09-18-2020, 02:05 PM   #17
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Thank you to Pau Hana for the very detailed reply. It makes me feel better about my situation. I can tell you that the people I talked to at Boat US and the email replies I received did not come close to explaining the decision to drop the coverage as you did. My main concern is a yard worker on the vessel being injured, and trying to assert a 905B claim against me since he would be limited to comp under state law. It looks like he would be barred from such a claim under your post. I wonder why Boat US/Geico dropped the coverage if there is no exposure though? As I stated in a previous post since I cannot get a new company to bind coverage with active storms I may be stuck with renewing with Boat US for now. Thanks again for such a detailed and informative response.
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Old 10-02-2020, 12:59 PM   #18
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Also left BoatUS-Geico

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joint Effort View Post
Boat US is now Geico. I am dealing with them on two of my boats at this time. HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORROR. I will never deal with another company that does not have an address that I can't drive my truck through the front door. The absolute worse company I have ever dealt with. That is all I can say without poisoning my brain and heart to the point of suicide or a mass killing. Incompetence should be the name.
I also left Boat US Geico this year. I read in other periodicals that the "Agreed Value" type policy Boat US was famous for, was no longer "Agreed Value" for any claims that were not total loss claims. Partial Loss claims deducted depreciation. So for a 15-20+ year boat you really don't have an Agreed Value policy unless you boat gets totaled. BoatUS agent verified what I read. Hello Progressive!
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Old 10-02-2020, 01:05 PM   #19
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Don't confuse the issue of who is entitled to coverage under the act such that their employer needs this federal form of workers compensation insurance with the potential for these covered people to sue a vessel owner for negligence under section 905(b) of the Act. To be the target of such a suit you just have to be a vessel owner, To lose the suit, you have to have been negligent under the Act. Others have touched upon what the plaintiff has to prove and the defenses available to the vessel owner. I don't think I am going to have a claim, or breach a duty such that liability might arise, but I sure as Hell want my liability policy to protect me if a claim is filed. No coverage for 905(b) claims is a hole in the liability coverage that would not be acceptable to me. This is not legal advise, no attorney-client relationship is established hereby, consult your own attorney to understand the application of this law to your facts, yada yada...
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Old 10-02-2020, 02:09 PM   #20
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You cannot set a 100% neutral jury when it comes to insurance.
Was there ever a 100% neutral law?

Seems to me most insurance laws are written by the insurance lobby or are approved by the insurance lobby before they ever go up for vote.

There should be neutral laws and juries but lets look at both sides.
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