If something occurs that you think might result in a claim let your agent know as soon as possible. If a passenger or crew is injured, report it, even if they tell you that they are fine and do not need medical attention.

The time to record any pertinent information is immediately after an incident occurs. This is when everything is still fresh in your mind and you can accurately record the events that happened. Who was injured? Where did it happen? What were they doing at the time? It is much easier to obtain this information at the time of the event rather than six months later after you receive a letter from an attorney. By letting your agent know what happened, the agent can then report the claim to the insurance company. There is no harm in sending something in for reporting purposes only. Adjusters would much rather have this information sooner than later, even if the medical bill turns out to be less than your deductible.

A passenger vessel operator contacted us recently to report a claim. A passenger had fallen while disembarking from a tender while on a shore trip. The captain offered medical assistance off the boat at a local clinic but the passenger refused, stating that they were fine and wanted to continue on with the trip. The cruise continued and the passenger enjoyed the remainder of the trip with no complaint. Fourteen months later, the owner of the vessel received a notice from an attorney seeking payment of medical bills as well as payment for pain and suffering.

Another client had a similar situation but with a crewmember. The individual injured her back while on board. The insured reported the occurrence and the crewmember received medical treatment for her injury. Eighteen months later the insured was issued a summons from the crewmember’s attorney seeking payment for pain and suffering. The adjustor was able to reopen the claim and review the file with all the pertinent notes from the time of the claim.

Unsafe areas of operations can be determined on board and corrected. This can help reduce injuries and ultimately save you money in the long run.

You should never feel that you can’t report something to your insurance agent.

Chris Richmond is a licensed mariner and marine insurance agent with Allen Insurance and Financial. He can be reached at 800-439-4311 or [email protected]

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