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C&N - Superyacht Insurance
Tristan Rutherford with Matteo Espinoza
21st August 2018
The global reach of today\'s yachts calls for a new risk management strategy. That\' s why the CEO of Camper & Nicholsons Insurance Solutions has combined his industry knowledge with naval architects, medical insurers and merchant ship managers, to create a peerless in-house insurance solution.

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C&N - Superyacht Insurance

The last two decades have brought greater change to the global yachting industry than the previous century. First and foremost, yachts are sailing to destinations never previously imagined. Through 2019, some of our fleet will touch upon Indonesia’s North Maluku, Polynesia’s Marquesas Islands and the virgin beaches of Cuba. Expeditions to Antarctica and Greenland are increasingly common. There is even talk among my colleagues of more distant voyages. Who can imagine a superyacht itinerary in 2020? Perhaps China’s Hainan Island, Colombia’s Pacific Coast or the volcanic dreamland of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

Other owners are content to cruise through more sophisticated destinations. As an Italian who works in Monaco and lives on the Cote d’Azur, I understand their desire. I imagine snorkelling near Portofino. Fine dining in Menton. Then a sunset anchorage off Port-Cros. These destinations are timeless – but the activities possible in each one are dynamic. We have clients who desire Seascooter safaris to far away reefs. Plus others who wish to fly in chefs that specialise in raw food or Peruvian cuisine. Or groups of guests who call for inflatable slides, trampolines and shaded seawater pool areas.

Yachts are now go-anywhere vehicles for limitless pleasure, a fact to be applauded. But for anyone involved in risk management, yacht insurance is a complex business.

Not that I am complaining. From my office window I gaze across the globe’s largest yachts, several of which I underwrote myself. However, all those who work in my industry must accept that we operate in an ever-changing environment. Yachts of up to 100m are regularly chartered. Crews can range up to 50 staff, including occupations as diverse as pastry chefs, soccer coaches, freedive instructors and reiki masseurs. Not to mention the engineering teams that form the hidden locomotive behind an increasingly innovative array of yachts. Our fleet ranges from classic sailing vessels to the world’s newest and swiftest motoryachts. Such diversity offers huge choice.

Such stunning assets need to be secured against risk. The same principles apply to the protection of fine art, private jets and shipping cargo – all markets in which I worked before specialising in yacht insurance. It’s worth remembering that problems are inherently unlikely to occur. Theft or breakage in our industry is rare. But when issues arise that are outside an owner’s control, such as superstorms, port collision, cyber terror or staff sickness, a policy to deal with such outcomes must be in place. My clients are busy enough without having to worry about the security of their family, friends, guests or asset.

That’s why I pioneered the launch of Camper & Nicholsons’ in-house risk management service in 2016. Superyacht insurance is too important a business to be left to a sub-contactor. Our aims are manifold. They range from protecting an asset’s economic value to returning a yacht to the charter market as quickly as possible. Let me explain how it works.

When an issue arises an owner or captain calls our hotline. The professionals on hand are something of a dream team within our industry. We operate a group of surveyors, naval architects, medical insurers and former merchant ship managers, all of whom combine decades of sector experience. Their combined knowledge forms a swift action plan to deal with any problem anywhere on the planet. Random events are as likely to happen on a Sunday evening in August as they are on Christmas Day. In short, you might be on vacation – but we aren’t. That’s why our lines are open 24 hours a day.

Needless to say, our insurance experts have probably dealt with a similar issue in the past. If international liaison is needed in any language, be it Russian, Thai, Spanish or Portuguese, we have a native speaker on hand to assist. Yet the insurance holder speaks solely to the Camper & Nicholsons risk officer in charge of their case, in a language that they choose.

Speed is frequently of prime importance. That’s another reason why our clients demanded an in-house service instead of contracting their insurance out. A yacht may require urgent mechanical assistance, or members of her crew may require repatriation. Discussions with local authorities might necessitate a site visit. An emergency response team can also log and photograph any occurrence for later use. They know what to look for in order to satisfy any eventuality. It’s also common that a captain wishes to guard against lost charter bookings, or an owner demands a quick and fair settlement of a claim. Rest assured, we know how to plan, propose and execute a claim on your behalf.

Prior to launching our in-house risk management service we found that some owners were tendering sections of their insurance out to a variety of risk managers for asset, liability or medical coverage. In our experience that’s unwise. Alternate policies regarding, for example, staff insurance and damage to yacht assets, be it a jetski or work of art, can overlap. Or worse still, fall through the cracks. Furthermore, it’s often less expensive to contract one insurer to complete the entire package.

Of course, those insurance packages vary. Standard policies may cover worldwide navigation, disruption of the charter season and hull damage. Broader policies may include protection for submersibles, private aviation or fine art. A key part of our role is to secure the best price for a client’s bespoke asset. Camper & Nicholsons have access to Lloyd’s of London, where I previously worked as a broker, and across the world’s leading insurance markets. They say that peace of mind is priceless, but in the tabulated world of maritime insurance, a competitive tariff can be found.

I hope I can meet you to discuss the most economical way to insure your complex resource. That way you can derive greater enjoyment from your yacht’s forthcoming passage to St Tropez or Sydney. In short, please enjoy your asset and let me do the hard work.