INSURANCE, INTERVIEW, YACHTS

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In the event of damage to a yacht, the bill can be very high.

In yachting, there are no ‘small’ accidents; no ‘small’ bills. A sector where the scalability of claims is extremely high... making the bill (even) higher.

We’re talking about yachts costing more than 10 million, exceptional assets whose purchase value varies greatly when we take into account all the assets – objects, works of art, luxury goods, electronic equipment, etc. – that the boat carries once launched. – that the yacht carries once in the water. Because a yacht is no ordinary means of transport, it’s a house on the water, very often adopting the codes, comfort and luxury of its owner’s other properties. There is one difference, however: the natural environment that surrounds it. At sea, the slightest accident takes on proportions that are hard to imagine, and can cost tens of thousands, or even millions, of francs.

“In yachting, there are no ‘small’ accidents; no ‘small’ bills”, says Demush Menishi, yachting expert at PSPI. A sector where the scalability of claims is extremely high… making the bill (even) higher.

“One of our customers, the proud owner of a splendid yacht, suffers damage in mild weather conditions off the coast. The engine is at a standstill, and the customer feels the anxiety building up, prompting him to turn a simple “Pan-Pan” into a “Mayday”. While the first call – Pan-Pan – usually results in a tow, the cost of which is kept under control, the Mayday is an injunction to any boat in the immediate vicinity to turn away to save all the souls aboard the transmitting boat. In the case of Mayday, salvaging material goods becomes a luxury that can cost an inordinate amount of money,” explains Demush Menishi. “This rescue would have cost him a staggering 850,000 euros had it not been for the intervention of a lawyer, recommended by us, who eventually reduced the bill to around a hundred thousand euros.
To spice things up, the owner didn’t think it necessary to take out legal protection, “like many yacht owners”, comments Demush Menishi. Why such a common denominator? “Probably because the risk of loss is minimized, or even neglected. There’s a misconception that problems at sea are extremely rare. On the one hand, this is statistically untrue, and on the other, when it does happen, the bill is very high.

Every claim is different, unexpected and striking. The expert has dozens of examples. “We must never be arrogant in the face of the sea”, he concludes, and so take precautions well in advance, anticipating the worst so as to be ready to face it.

Demush Menishi’s advice to all boat owners:
1. Always be wary of boats that have had numerous claims: this is often a sign of a design problem.
2. Legal protection is essential insurance, and you’ll probably want to take it out.
3. Choosing a quality flag means guaranteeing a quality technical inspection.
4. As soon as the boat is to be chartered, enlist the services of a competent yacht manager or maritime lawyer.
5. Finally, don’t neglect the Cyber risk: a lot of money is in transit, attracting the greed of computer whizzes who will do anything to get rid of your assets.

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