If these last couple of years have taught us anything, it is that that some things are just not in our control. That’s one of the reasons we have insurance. But are fishing vessel insurance costs going to continue to increase? Is accessing insurance still a given?
Vessel Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. We don’t know if we will have a loss, but we do know we will be worse off financially if we do. Insurance is the mechanism for sharing losses of the few among the many (risk sharing). Understanding this basic premise is important for knowing what options are available to reduce the risk in the group.
Besides providing this necessary risk sharing service, insurance companies are in the business to make money. If they have a line of business that is losing money, their options are to:
- Get out of that market, i.e., not provide insurance
- Raise the rates or
- Add conditions that will limit the coverage.
For example: We have seen that it is no longer the practice to make a claim for a loss and carry on. After a loss insurers are looking for documentation on not only why it happened but what is the plan to prevent it from happening in the future.
In BC with the reduced number of vessels we have become a smaller line of business and not necessarily a profitable one. This puts us in the position of looking at what we can do to encourage continued insurance coverage at reasonable costs.
While we cannot control risk, we can manage it. This is done by incorporating a safety management system on your vessel.
What is unique to the BC fishing industry is the access to the tools needed to create a Safety Management Program. Fish Safe* is a successful industry and insurer recognized program.
Through fishermen developed safety courses to prevent capsizing and the Safest Catch – safety management system, we have seen the vital role incorporating safety on board fishing vessels has played in the industry. It also has a role in making the fishing industry more insurable. This fishing industry funded program is what insurers would call a risk avoidance strategy.
As a vessel owner you might want to put yourself in the best light to your current or potential insurer. With a documented safety program like the Safest Catch or Orange Decal in place it shows the insurance companies that you are dedicated to risk avoidance and safety. This may the difference between being able to get reasonable rates and, in some cases, being able to get insurance at all.
*Fish Safe is an industry wide safety program offering hands-on, on-board training for fishermen for FREE as well as assistance with Transport Canada and WorkSafeBC requirements.
Factors to improve your insurability:
| • Documented Safety Management Program (Fish Safe, Orange Decal)|
• Current vessel survey
• Any conditions of survey completed and documented
• Certified Skippers
• No claims