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An exclusive insurance solution for C&N clients
14th October 2023
Camper & Nicholsons Insurance Solutions boasts a 100% reimbursal claim. More importantly, the 24/7 service offers life-saving support across five oceans, promising priceless peace of mind for owners. Division CEO Matteo Espinoza shares his experience of the claims process and risk in the industry.

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An exclusive insurance solution for C&N clients

Three years ago, the chief engineer on a Camper & Nicholsons yacht had a heart attack in the United States. His captain, who witnessed the emergency, called his 24/7 emergency line. The engineer was evacuated to a heart surgery unit in record time. The operation and follow-up recovery programme cost $300,000 but meant that the employee returned safely to work. “The swift intervention of our insurance company literally saved the chief engineer’s life,” asserts Matteo Espinoza, chief executive officer of Camper & Nicholsons Insurance Solutions.

Problems aboard luxury yachts staffed by highly trained crew are unlikely to occur. Yet when issues arise outside a stakeholder’s control — cyber attack, medical emergency, object collision — it pays to be prepared. An owner should not have to worry about the security of their asset, family, guests or crew.

While the chief engineer recovered from his heart attack, another misfortune struck within the Camper & Nicholsons fleet. “Three years ago, another of our owners had a large claim in a German shipyard,” continues Matteo. The damage was in excess of €5m for a yacht in the 140m-plus range. The owner was reimbursed for everything he lost including missed cruising opportunities. “He renewed his policy straight away and is still with us,” smiles Matteo.

During its eight years of existence, Camper & Nicholsons Insurance Solutions boasts a 100% reimbursal claim. There are three key reasons for their success in mitigating and compensating risk. First, the primary appraisal of most insurance companies is to reject a claim. “That’s not how we work,” Matteo explains. Instead of employing a third-party underwriter to minimise an eventual payout, Camper & Nicholsons has complete control over the entire settlement. “This completely changes the perspective of a claim,” Matteo adds.

Second, Camper & Nicholsons has their own team of surveyors, which includes naval architects, medical insurers and former merchant ship managers with sector experience measured in decades. Their combined knowledge creates a swift solution to any issue, from stolen art to injured crew. Their sole aims are to protect a yacht’s value and, if necessary, return it to the charter market as fast as possible. Risks are by nature random events and can happen anytime from New Year’s Eve to a busy week in August.

Third, claims are actioned as painlessly as possible. The insurance holder speaks solely to the Camper & Nicholsons risk officer in charge of their case. Medical issues are reimbursed in less than 72 hours. Crew insurance policies are robust. The C&N policy provides exclusive medical care from immediate intervention to ship-to-shore evacuation. The bottom line is that Camper & Nicholsons policy holders have never had to fight with lawyers during what could be a testing emotional or financial time.

There’s just one caveat. “It’s important to stress the fact that Camper & Nicholsons Insurance Solutions provide services only to our clients,” advises Matteo. “When an owner joins our charter or yacht management fleet, they can benefit from an exclusive insurance solution they cannot find on the open market.”

Camper & Nicholsons policies can be broad. They may cover helicopters, fine art and private jets — all markets Matteo worked in before specialising in superyacht insurance. That’s important because before Camper & Nicholsons in-house risk management service began in 2016, many owners tendered their insurance to a variety of providers. This meant that some policies overlapped and risk was mitigated — and paid for twice. Worse still, some assets and outdoor activities slipped through the cracks. Superyacht insurance is too important to be left to a subcontractor.

Moreover, it’s often more economical for one provider to oversee the entire insurance package. Here’s why. Each year, Matteo negotiates fresh terms to obtain the maximum level of security at the market’s most competitive rates. “Then I tabulate the premiums and apply the book rates to our fleet,” he explains. Everything is brokered inside Camper & Nicholsons Monaco office with total transparency. “There is no middleman,”. “Everything is handled by people who work for Camper & Nicholsons and have our clients’ interests at heart.”

Throughout Matteo’s extensive experience in the insurance market, most risks have remained constant. The most common claims still often involve tenders, engine failure, collision and grounding. Sizes are similar. “They have not increased massively as we reached the top with 180m Azzam, and hybrid engines were already common a decade ago,” he adds. Nor have destinations required much risk adjustment. “Around 70% of yacht traffic remains between Portofino and St Tropez,” he explains. “Antarctica voyages have always taken place so we have an insurance formula for that location.”

What of the hot topics of piracy and exploding batteries? “We have not experienced a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden for 15 years,” assures Matteo. “Of course, it can happen, but it’s a remote risk we guard against.” There are new toys, acknowledges the CEO. “Seabobs, drones and items containing lithium-ion batteries exist but nothing that truly changes our perception of the risk,” he adds. In recent months, flag states have issued best management practices for batteries but, “as for any new tech, you should understand how to keep them safe”.

In conclusion, there are few ripples on the horizon at Camper & Nicholsons Insurance Solutions. As Matteo happily summarises; “the market is very stable”.

Contact the C&N Insurance Solutions team to get more information.