It happens all the time. A problem surfaces because somebody didn’t tell somebody something.
Whether by phone, email, text, in person or snail mail, for those who operate shipyards and workboats, how many people do we need to keep in the loop? It could be the Coast Guard, OSHA, your insurance agent, vessel surveyors, insurance company risk managers and loss control reps, suppliers, your lawyer or accountant.
But perhaps most important are your employees or crewmembers, who must be kept in the loop. All of the others should be part of your team and should be kept informed as need arises. But how do you define need? If you even think that you should contact someone, then you must do it right away.
Below are just a few examples of the many miscommunications I’ve encountered in the last few weeks.
A client called to say his insurer was placing his company into collections for an unpaid claim deductible. He swore he paid with a certified check at the offices of the insurance company. It turns out that he dropped off the check but it was unclear where he wanted the funds to go so the insurance company credited his premium instead of sending it to the claims department.
Another client was using his vessel as a shore-based attraction and was allowing more people on board than his insurance covered. We informed him that by doing this, he could potentially void his vessel policy. Now he’ll comply.
The owner of a cargo vessel was using the vessel for pleasure on weekends, with only himself aboard. His ocean marine insurance policy indicated that the vessel would be operated with at least two crew. He thought there was no problem, but his ocean marine policy was voided for two reasons. Pleasure use was not shown in his trading warranty and the crew warranty showed two crew.
With so many ways to get in touch with the people that can keep you on the straight and narrow, there is simply no excuse not to keep them informed.