Mark Bononi Insurance Q&A

MHG Insurance, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, provides yacht crew health insurance plans designed specifically to meet the needs of today’s global yachting industry. In this week’s blog MHG Insurance Mark Bononi, director of the company’s Yacht Division, answers questions related to yacht crew insurance.

Q: In addition to yacht crew health insurance, what other types of insurance should I be considering? 

A: It’s also important to consider having life insurance and a disability income plan. Life insurance is designed with your loved ones in mind and plays an important role in your overall financial plan. In the event of your death, beneficiaries can be comforted knowing that they have time to re-adjust their standard of living, can pay off debts or other expenses or provide for their children's education. Having a disability income plan is equally important. A disability income plan can offer you peace of mind knowing a significant portion of your income can be replaced in the event of an unfortunate accident or sickness. Unfortunately, we have all heard or read about the tragic stories of a crewmember who suffered a debilitating injury or illness which forced them to leave the yacht and were unable to return to work for an extended period of time. It is also important to be prepared for the less serious injuries that could also keep you off work such as a broken ankle or severe knee injury. If you’re in between yachts or do not need to purchase a full-time health insurance plan, there are short term health insurance solutions that we can help you with as well. 

Q: Do yacht crew health insurance plans cover typical water sports activities like scuba diving?

A: Yes, but as with all insurance policies, there are exclusions and limitations so it is important to check policies carefully if you intend to participate in these activities. Normally, water skiing, jet skiing and winter sports are covered under most yacht crew health insurance plans, but there are still some policies where winter sports are excluded, so you need to review the coverage and ask questions.

Q: Is emergency medical evacuation standard in most plans? 

A: Yes.  However, the circumstances where an evacuation can be performed will vary from plan to plan. Normally, a medical evacuation requires you to be either at risk for loss of life or limb in the opinion of the attending physician, and that there are inadequate medical facilities to treat you. Evacuation is to the nearest facility able to provide the necessary treatment. 

Q: What are the eligibility requirements to sign up for a yacht crew insurance plan? 

A: Generally, you must be a full-time yacht crew member or reasonably expect to be working on a yacht as your primary means of income. Also, medical history can determine what type of insurance you may need, or what plans you may be eligible for. 

Q: What happens to my plan after I leave yachting?

A: In most cases, you will need to find an alternative solution when you return home. It’s important to discuss your current needs and future plans with your insurance specialist when selecting a health insurance plan. A yacht crew health insurance plan may not always be the right solution for you if you’re looking to keep the plan for the long-term. 

Q: As a U.S. citizen I am now required to have health insurance. Do yacht crew insurance plans satisfy this requirement?

A: Currently, there are no individual yacht crew policies which satisfy this requirement. However, MHG is an approved Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) insurance agency and our team can answer all of your questions and help you find the right US health insurance plan based on your needs and budget. Open enrollment for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2015, begins Nov. 15, 2014.  However, if you’re looking for coverage now, a short-term health insurance plan may be a good interim solution. 

Q: What factors should I consider when selecting a yacht crew health insurance plan?

A: When selecting a yacht crew health insurance plan you should consider your itinerary, medical history, budget and your future plans. If you’re looking for specific coverage such as dependent or maternity coverage or coverage for a specific winter or water sports activity, that should be a consideration as well. 

Q: Am I covered by the yacht owner?

A: Yes, indirectly. However, the yacht owner’s insurance is not your insurance. Also keep in mind that the owner’s insurance and liability does not necessarily extend coverage to you when you are off the vessel or on vacation.  There may be other restrictions and limitations as well, which can create large gaps in your coverage. When you incur medical expenses, doctors and hospitals will hold you responsible for payment, not the vessel owner. 

Q: What other services are included with insurance policies?

A: In addition to your coverage, many insurance plans offer additional assistance such as help with lost luggage, lost passports, health alerts, and safety and security notices. Our Insurance Specialists will be able to tell you more once you start discussing individual plans that are suited to your needs.

Q: Do I always have to pay at time of service and apply for reimbursement?

A: Not always. Most insurance carriers are happy to work directly with doctors and hospitals. However, in many cases, especially for smaller claim amounts, the doctor or hospital will require payment upfront. The key to successful direct billing is to establish communication between the doctor and the insurance carrier as early as possible before treatment. We’re of course happy to help with this.

We know that dealing with insurance can be complicated. Insurance has its own language and attempting to evaluate all of the information on your own can be overwhelming. At MHG, we have the experience and resources to help you select the best solution for your particular circumstances, coverage requirements and budget. Once you purchase a policy we will continue to assist you with questions about your policy, details about the coverage it provides and throughout the claims process. Whether you are purchasing a plan for the first time, already have a plan in place and are looking for a more affordable alternative or, simply looking for better coverage, let us know, we would be happy to help.

To learn more about yacht crew health insurance for groups, individuals or fleets call us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com

Insurance Q&A With Mark Bononi

Travel Insurance Myths

You have been working really hard these past few months and are ready for your well-deserved break! Whether you are cruising in the Caribbean, scaling the Great Wall of China or relaxing on the beach in the Canary Islands, it is important to keep your health in mind and purchase a travel insurance policy. Here are some common myths about travel insurance , and the facts about the valuable coverage it provides:

Myth #1: Travel insurance is too expensive, I can’t afford it. 

The reality is, anyone who travels internationally can’t afford to be without travel insurance. Travel insurance is calculated based on age, type of coverage, the deductible/excess you select, and whether your trip includes travel to the United States, as well as the length of your trip. For example, a 35-year-old male traveling outside the US for 2 weeks, can select a travel insurance plan for as little as $10! Bottom line, there is a travel insurance plan for every trip and budget. 

Myth #2: My health insurance plan will cover me internationally. 

This is a dangerous presumption. If you are a traveling senior from the U.S., it is important to know that Medicare will not cover you outside of the United States. It’s also important to mention that many U.S. health insurance plans do not provide coverage when you are traveling outside of the country and the plans that do, may not respond as well and often require you to pay for services upfront and seek reimbursement later. Speak with your insurance agent or the insurance company to find out if your plan has international coverage before you depart on your trip. 

European Health Insurance Cardholders (EHIC) traveling within the 28 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, may be eligible for free or reduced medical care; however, what would you do if you were seriously sick or injured and had to be flown home for medical treatment? The EHIC does not cover the cost of medical repatriation and if you do not have adequate insurance, you would be responsible for paying this yourself. To ensure you have the proper coverage in place, select a travel insurance plan that includes a medical repatriation component. 

Myth #3: Travel insurance is just for emergencies. 

Not true, travel insurance is multi-faceted. Travel insurance plans not only cover you for medical emergencies, but can also provide valuable concierge services, such as pre-trip destination information, lost luggage assistance, travel document replacement, identity theft assistance and trip interruption among others. 

Myth #4: Travel insurance isn’t necessary for short trips. 

Whether it’s food poisoning, a sprained ankle or something more serious such as a stroke, unfortunately, accidents and illness can happen at any time. Whether you are away for a long weekend or several weeks, travel insurance can help mitigate these risks. 

Myth #5: I have a credit card that will cover any unforeseen medical emergencies. 

Some credit card companies offer travel insurance as a perk for their card members, but it’s not uncommon for this coverage to be limited, providing coverage for accidents only, not illness. It’s important to contact your credit card company for full details about what is included in the coverage so you can make an informed decision as to whether or not you need a separate travel insurance policy.   

No matter where your vacation or business trip takes you, it is important to have appropriate insurance coverage in place to protect you and your family. Speak with the Insurance Specialists at MHG in the US at 954-828-1819, or in Europe at +44 (0) 1624 678668 for more information and to purchase your travel insurance policy. You can also visit MHG online at: https://mhginsurance.com. Have a safe and pleasurable trip!

Debunking Common Myths About Travel Insurance

Life Insurance for Children

Did you know that securing a life insurance policy for your child is not only a loving and generous gift, but can also be one of the most valuable tools in securing his or her financial future? You may have heard one of the many myths about children and life insurance , such as them not having any dependents or bringing in an income, as deeming a life insurance policy unnecessary. A life insurance policy for your child, however, can help prepare them for future financial security and help them avoid financial hardships that may arise.

One of the greatest advantages of an insurance policy for a child is that his or her insurability is at its highest and premiums are at their lowest when they are young. Here are a few other reasons to consider when thinking about life insurance for your children:

  1. The Benefit of Starting at a Young Age – Purchasing life insurance at a young age almost always guarantees that it can be purchased. In addition, if you purchase a policy, for example, a Whole Life Policy with a Guaranteed Purchase Option, you will be able to purchase additional coverage at a later date, no medical questions or tests needed. Also, over time, consider the dividends and cash value the policy will have for your child.

  2. Money Options and Retirement – With certain policies, your children will have the option as they age to withdraw money from their accrued cash value. This money may come in handy when it is time to pay for college or use as a down payment on a house. In addition, with a cash value life insurance policy, they can take the cash and convert it into an annuity. Annuities can guarantee continual income, which can help your child pay debts, financial expenses or help fund their retirement.

  3. Future Insurability – We never know what will take place later in life, and there are events or illnesses that could make your child uninsurable. This can make it impossible to secure a life insurance policy at a time when it is needed the most. Purchasing a permanent life insurance policy for your child at a young age secures the availability of coverage as they get older. Speak to one of MHG’s knowledgeable insurance brokers today about affordable life insurance premiums for your child.

As you see, there are many benefits to obtaining a life insurance policy for your child, no matter how young they are. When your child is an adult, you will be able to present them with their life insurance policy, helping them feel confident about their financial security. It is truly one of the most loving and generous gifts a parent can give their child.

To learn more about obtaining a life insurance policy for your child, contact MHG Insurance Brokers by calling 954-828-1819. You can also visit us online at mhginsurance.com . Let us help you begin the preparations today to protect the ones you love the most. We look forward to serving you!

Life Insurance and Your Children

General Liability vs. Marine General Liability

All companies need protection from certain potential risks associated with operating a business that will provide coverage in an unfortunate event in which they are held accountable.  Broad-spectrum coverage for these risks is called General Liability insurance. General Liability insurance may protect your company and your interests against any of these unfortunate occurrences:

  • Bodily injury;
  • Property damage;
  • Damage to premises;
  • Personal and Advertising injury – this protects your business against oral or written advertised slander, libel, or disparagement ;
  • Fire damage to the premises caused by the negligence of the insured.
When you carry General Liability insurance, the insurer may cover potential legal costs incurred by you, the insured, in the event of a legal claim or lawsuit. We live in a litigious society, making this type of coverage extremely necessary in the maritime industry. Marine General Liability is designed to protect against accidents or injuries that are associated with or have occurred on or around a waterfront, or in another marine setting. Marine General Liability policies provide coverage for the typical liability risks that businesses incur, which are covered in a standard General Liability policy, and may be written to offer additional, more specific protections that address the more unique needs and potential risks associated with maritime operation, such as:

  • Liability absorbed when renting or leasing a boat or watercraft. Protection includes property damage to the vessel, as well as pier damage;
  • Liability and hazards faced by marina operators, and includes property and structure damage protection;
  • Liability met by terminal operators against loss or damage of cargo;
  • Liability met by operators and owners of piers or wharves, covering damage to property of others while in their custody, including tugs, tows, cargo and equipment.
Marine General Liability coverage can be tailored to include employee benefits liability, international liability, stop-gap liability, and more.  It is essential to seek the advice and information from a trusted, knowledgeable broker, such as MHG Insurance Brokers. The team at MHG Insurance Brokers is well versed in the risks and coverage requirements of those who work in the industry. MHG Insurance Brokers works with you to determine your specific needs and budget, and will create a comprehensive liability package that will meet every one of those needs.

Your MHG Insurance Brokers representative will also work to get you the best price and assurance that your interests and good name will be fully protected. MHG Insurance takes the job of helping you reduce your risk and protect your business very seriously.  With over 20 years of experience, you can feel confident and trust the expertise of our highly trained and educated brokers.

It is our practice to assist you in translating complex terminology, clarify key features of the coverage you are considering, and help you assess and determine what your coverage requirements are. We apply our experience and take advantage of resources that we have built over the years to provide you with the best coverage from the most trusted insurers.

Going beyond that, we remain your partner in protection, offering our services to help you with questions, information, and claims assistance if and when you need it – at any time. 

Contact MHG Insurance Brokers to learn more about Marine General Liability coverage, by calling 954-828-1819, or visit MHG Insurance Brokers online at: mhginsurance.com . We look forward to being your partner in liability protection.

What is the Difference Between General Liability and Marine General Liability?

MHG Insurance Brokers, a national brokerage in the United States specializing in life and health insurance for groups and individuals as well as business insurance , is pleased to announce and welcome Tom Nickerson to our Ft. Lauderdale team in the role of Account Executive.

Tom will be tasked with managing the day to day administration of our Life & Health client accounts. In addition to life and health products for groups and individuals, health care reform guidance and employee benefits solutions , MHG also offers a full line of business insurance solutions.

Tom grew up in North Eastern US (Connecticut, New Jersey & New York), where he attended the New York University, graduating in Communications.  He began his career as an insurance agent, working his way up to Underwriting Support Manager.   He is experienced in customer support and process improvement, as well as sales and sales support. 

“We have high expectations for our Account Executives,” said Stephen Beck, Manager of the Life & Health Division. “Tom’s years of experience and technical aptitude will be a great asset to our team.” 

Tom is a supporter of the organization Ability Beyond Disability, an organization individuals with disabilities to pursue more independent lives. In his spare time, Tom pursues his passion for videography.

About MHG Insurance MHG Insurance Brokers is a full-service insurance brokerage, assisting clients with marine crew insurance, life and health insurance, MLC 2006 and healthcare reform guidance, employee benefits solutions and business insurance.  With over 20 years of industry experience and access to multiple US and international carriers, our insurance specialists can advise which insurance and financial services providers and products are best suited to address the needs of employers as well as individuals. We are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of advice and support in order to deliver solutions that offer the best scope, service and value. MHG has offices in Fort Lauderdale, the Isle of Man, and Hamburg as well as representation on the Cote d’Azur. For more information about MHG Insurance, please visit mhginsurance.com.

Tom Nickerson Joins MHG Insurance Brokers in Fort Lauderdale

Whether you are a boat dealer, marina operator or own a yacht detailing company, you have unique needs and requirements when it comes to liability protection.  These requirements help protect your business against any lawsuits stemming from business operations. This is where the decision to obtain a Marine General Liability policy vs. a General Liability policy comes into play. People tend to lean towards a General Liability policy because it has a cheaper cost; unfortunately, because of numerous exclusions involved in a General Liability policy, the insured usually isn’t covered in the areas needed. Here are some additional helpful facts and tips about these two policy types:

  • Learn the truth about General Liability – Did you know that a generic General Liability policy does not include watercraft coverage, including “the ownership, maintenance, and use of” watercraft owned or operated by you, the insured? Perhaps you would naturally assume this is covered – which brings up the fact that an experienced insurance broker could help you when it comes to the specifics of policy exclusions and/or benefits.
  • Who the exclusions affect – Exclusions can affect a wide variety of people, but for the purpose of this post let’s specifically talk about boat dealers, marina operators, etc. If you fall into any of those categories, then you are aware of the frequent operation of watercraft that takes place in your business. Operations, such as employees operating boats, or doing any type of test or demo drives for a customer are also excluded under a General Liability policy. If anything happens during these types of “operations”, you are left vulnerable and uninsured.
  • Another Interesting Exclusion – If you are considering purchasing an unendorsed General Liability policy, consider this: the “care, custody or control” of personal property of others is also excluded, meaning additional operations like boat repair, storing, hauling, fueling, launching and slip rentals are also uncovered.
  • Part Installers Beware – Perhaps you are a boat dealer who also installs aftermarket equipment or parts on boats. Unendorsed General Liability policies contain a “your work and product” exclusion, meaning any claim related to the installation of your aftermarket part is also not included.

The bottom line is most General Liability policies exclude any work done on the water or vessels, while specifically obtaining a Marine Liability policy will cover you for any damages or liability to a third person engaged in marine operations. Remember, cruise lines and marinas require proof of appropriate insurance coverage before any job can begin, so make sure you have the right policy in hand. To learn more about the advantages of Marine General Liability coverage, contact an MHG broker today by visiting MHG Insurance or calling 954-828-1819.

Differences between similiar lines of business

Health Insurance Terms

MHG Insurance strives to provide our clients with the best service and the most viable information regarding insurance policies and services currently available on the market. We want our clients to be able to make informed decisions about their healthcare, as well as become familiar with what their own insurance needs are. This can be a challenging task, however, as the insurance industry has practically established its very own language which includes a myriad of terms and confusing industry related jargon.

Below are commonly used health insurance terms, clearly defined to make it easier for you to apply this information when you review your current policy, or when you are considering making changes to your existing plan. As always, MHG is available at any time to discuss any questions you may have regarding your existing plan, or to examine these terms in more depth:

  • Deductible: A deductible is a fixed dollar amount during the benefit period, usually a year, which an insured person pays before the insurer begins to make payments for covered medical services. Plans may have individual and family deductibles. Some plans may have separate deductibles for specific services, such as a deductible for each hospitalization admission.

  • Coinsurance: A form of medical cost sharing in a health insurance plan that requires an insured person to pay a stated percentage of medical expenses after the deductible (if any) has been paid. Once the deductible and/or coinsurance have been paid, the insurer is responsible for the rest of the reimbursement for covered benefits.

  • Copay: A form of medical cost sharing in a health insurance plan that requires an insured person to pay a fixed dollar amount when a medical service is received. The insurer is then responsible for the rest of the reimbursement.

  • Out of Pocket Maximum: This is the maximum dollar amount a group member (the insured) is required to pay out of pocket during a benefit year.  Until the maximum is met, the plan and group member share in the cost of covered expenses.

  • In/Out of Network or Participating Provider: Your health plan contracts with a wide range of participating doctors, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, and labs. These providers have agreed to accept your plan’s contracted rate as payment in full for services. The contracted rate includes both your insurer’s and your share (deductible, copay, coinsurance) of the cost. For those with out of network benefits, services from a provider who is outside of this network are not based on agreed upon or set contracted rates with your insurer, and therefore the services may be subject to higher charges. This may result in you paying more out of pocket for the difference owed between what the provider is charging and what your plan will cover.

  • HMO : HMO stands for Health Maintenance Organization. It is defined as a health care system that assumes both the financial risks associated with providing comprehensive medical services (insurance and service risk) and the responsibility for health care delivery in a particular geographic area to HMO members, usually in return for a fixed, prepaid fee. Financial risk may be shared with the providers participating in the HMO. There are different types of HMOs, including a Group Model HMO which contracts with a single multi-specialty medical group that provides coverage to the HMO’s membership. There is a Staff Model HMO where patients can receive services only through a limited number of providers, in which physicians are employees of the HMO, usually operating within the HMO’s own facilities. There is also a Network Model HMO that contracts with multiple physician groups to provide services to HMO members. Finally, an Individual Practice Association HMO is a type of health care provider organization composed of a group of independent practicing physicians who maintain their own offices and band together for the purpose of contracting their services to HMO’s.

  • POS: A POS plan is an HMO/PPO hybrid; sometimes referred to as an open-ended HMO when offered by an HMO. POS plans resemble HMOs for in-network services. Services received outside of the network are usually reimbursed based on a fee schedule, or what is considered to be reasonable and customary charges.

  • PPO: A PPO plan is an indemnity plan where coverage is provided to participants through a network of selected health care providers, such as hospitals and physicians. The enrollees may go outside of the network for services, but would incur larger costs in the form of deductibles, higher coinsurance rates, or non-discounted charges from the providers.

  • COBRA: COBRA stands for the landmark Consolidated Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986. This law provides the continuation of group health coverage that would otherwise be terminated for a former employee, retirees, spouse’s former spouses and dependent children. The coverage is available when coverage is lost due to certain specific events, such as voluntary or involuntary termination of employment, reduction of the number of hours worked by the employee, covered employees becoming entitled to Medicare, or divorce or death of a covered employee. However, in most cases, the insured person must continue to pay his or her portion of the insurance premium as well as the portion that was previously being paid by the employer in order to maintain coverage.

MHG Insurance wants you to understand health insurance terminology that can often be confusing and overwhelming. We welcome your feedback and any questions you may have. You may contact MHG at 954-828-1819, or by visiting us at mhginsurance.com.  Here’s to your good health!

Commonly Used Health Insurance Terms

Reasons to Buy Life Insurance

No one wants to think about the unforeseen loss of a spouse or loved one.  Just the thought of losing someone you love brings up unpleasant, emotional feelings. However, taking the time and making a small investment to plan for such an event – whether it be that of your own passing or that of a spouse - is not only necessary, but it is one of the most generous, loving gestures you can make for those you love. Here are the ten reasons why everyone should consider purchasing life insurance :    

  1. Protect those you love. Your loved ones will be able to go on financially and without the stress and worry of how they’re going to pay the bills. Your children’s future will be solidified, allowing them to attend college, while your spouse will have the means to continue paying the mortgage and stay in your family’s home.

  2. Peace of mind. Are you the top income earner in your household? When you obtain life insurance, you will no longer have to worry what will happen to your family in the event of your death or if you become terminally ill – at which time life insurance becomes practically impossible to acquire.

  3. Life insurance creates options. Often, when a loved one who was the top income provider of the family passes, survivors are forced to make quick, important financial decisions during a very tough, emotionally charged time.

  4. Life insurance has more than one purpose. Your policy is a valuable asset that can provide a specified sum of money at a time when it is needed most. You can choose a Life insurance plan that is an annuity – which will actually supplement your retirement income with a guaranteed monthly stream of income once you retire for as long as you live.

  5. You never know what can happen. In the event of an emergency or abrupt onset of terminal illness, you may be able to request a withdrawal or loan from your policy for a much needed cash infusion to keep your household running smoothly.

  6. Death shouldn’t equal debt. Debt can be a tremendous burden for anyone, but it is especially difficult to deal with for those who are grief stricken.

  7. Take care of your business. Life insurance doesn’t just protect individuals. It can protect a business from financial loss, liabilities, or instability in the event of the death of a business owner or partner.  It can be invaluable in providing an infusion of cash to keep operations going until things settle down.

  8. Funerals are expensive. A funeral can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 – and that is just for an average, “no-frills” burial. Life insurance can cover this cost without further financial hardship and stress for your loved ones.

  9. It makes financial sense. Life insurance is considered a financial asset, which can help increase your credit and help you get a loan or health insurance.

  10. Give to charity. Life insurance will allow you to leave a meaningful gift to a favorite cause or charity that is larger than you would have been able to set aside for a donation.

Obtaining life insurance ensures financial stability for those left behind in the event of an unforeseen tragedy, as well as providing cash in times of need. Contact MHG Insurance Brokers to learn more about obtaining life insurance and the different types of policies available by calling 954-828-1819, or visiting online at mhginsurance.com . Let us help you begin the preparations today to protect the ones you love most.

Top Ten Reasons to Buy Life Insurance

Fort Lauderdale, FL – July 30, 2013 – As the latest company to join the IGY Anchor Club as Partners, MHG Insurance has further expanded its reach in the superyacht business sector. The IGY Anchor Club provides its partners the opportunity to reach IGY customers all over the network in 7 countries and 13 marinas with relevant messaging of top goods and services within the industry. 

MHG and IGY’s interests to meet its customers’ needs are one and the same, and those aligned interests have culminated in a partnership to reach the IGY network through its Anchor Club. MHG’s goal is to relay the importance of all types of insurances, but particularly health, life and disability insurance for yacht captains and crew. 

“Captains and crew are exposed to hazards that could seriously affect their short and long term financial goals.” says Clayton Swart, Manager of Business Development for MHG. “In addition, given the recent changes in Health Care Reform and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006), we want to take this opportunity to reach out to captains and crew who have concerns and questions as well as to simply pass along what we know to those that do not.”

The company has formed MHG University with which it plans to educate captains and crew on the changes that have recently taken place and how best to approach those changes on an individual basis. With its unique experience and detailed knowledge, MHG will channel its insight through the IGY Anchor Club, where it will open its proverbial doors to any questions regarding healthcare and insurance decision-making. 

To kick start the program, MHG’s first avenue of communication to those who would like to learn more about the reforms or anything insurance-related, is by contacting Clayton. MHG encourages any and all who would like to learn more, to write directly with their insurance or reform questions or concerns to: Clayton Swart Manager, Business Development T: 954 383 3635 mhginsurance.com 

ABOUT MHG Insurance Brokers

MHG Insurance is a full-service insurance brokerage, assisting clients with crew insurance, life and health insurance, MLC 2006 and health care reform guidance, employee benefits solutions and business insurance.  With over 20 years of industry experience and access to multiple US and international carriers, our insurance specialists can advise which insurance and financial services providers and products are best suited to address the needs of employers as well as individuals. We are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of advice and support in order to deliver solutions that offer the best scope, service and value. With a team of over 30 employees, MHG has offices in Fort Lauderdale, the Isle of Man and Hamburg as well as representation on the Cote d’Azur. For more information about MHG Insurance, please visit mhginsurance.com .

ABOUT IGY 

With yachting destinations spanning the Americas, IGY has redefined the luxury marina experience. Founded in 2005, IGY focuses on acquiring, managing, and servicing luxury-yacht marinas and lifestyle destinations. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, IGY also has offices in New York, NY and St. Thomas, USVI. Island Global Yachting marinas operate under the signature Yacht Haven Grande Collection and the IGY series brands, as well as several private labels. IGY’s network of properties is setting new standards for service and quality in nautical tourism throughout the world. The company now offers an unprecedented collection of 13 marinas in the Caribbean, Pacific and the Americas, all catering to a variety of vessel types including sportfishers, cruisers, sailing & motor yachts, as well as being exclusive home ports for some of the world’s largest megayachts. IGY also participates in 10 of the world’s biggest and best sportfishing tournaments, making our marinas in Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, St. Thomas USVI, Turks & Caicos, Panama and Palmas Del Mar, Puerto Rico highly sought-after angler destinations. IGY is an affiliate of Island Capital Group LLC, a real estate merchant banking firm led and founded by Andrew Farkas, former chairman of Insignia Financial Group. For more information, please visit www.igymarinas.com .

MHG Insurance Brokers Becomes the Newest Partner in the IGY Anchor Club

Regulatory Changes Affect Captains And Crew

It is often said that, “The only constant in life is change.” This statement could not be more appropriate with the changes that are happening regarding health insurance and the superyacht industry. Between Health Care Reform and the Maritime Labour Convention , 2006 (MLC) coming into effect soon, now is the time for yacht captains and crew to learn about regulatory changes taking place and how they can best protect themselves.

Mark Bononi, MHG Insurance Brokers’ Yacht Division Director, is featured in this month’s issue of Dockwalk, the premier magazine for superyacht captains and crew. He speaks candidly about this specific issue and offers pertinent advice for those in the industry. For starters, let us begin with the MLC, which will be going into effect on August 20, 2013. If you have assumed the MLC will make the vessel owner responsible to take care of all your health and medical insurance needs, this is simply not the case. 

The MLC is basically designed as a minimum standard for the commercial shipping world and does not mean individual yacht crewmembers will be adequately protected. Bononi shares that the MLC going into effect really does not change much regarding coverage. He explains that the “MLC states that each vessel owner is liable for crew medical costs.” However, the MLC does not spell this out clearly, stating the yacht owner must provide “financial security” to cover death, repatriation or long-term disability costs. Bononi then asks, how will this “financial security” be proven? It will most likely be subject to interpretation by each individual port state inspector. Proof might come in the form of providing health insurance, or having money in an escrow account, or in another manner…either way, it is not clearly stated. 

In addition, many insurance policies offered by a yacht owner do not include all-encompassing health care for yacht crewmembers. Bononi stresses the point that this is where the responsibility ultimately falls on the crewmember to make sure their medical and health insurance needs are met, and how a separate medical policy can offer added protection and peace of mind. When it comes to Health Care Reform, Americans who work as yacht crewmembers are currently playing the waiting game. Do not assume that not residing in the U.S. the majority of the year removes your requirement to pay for health insurance or be subject to a tax. Currently, the rules around residency and time periods for residing outside of the U.S. are vague at best. This makes it difficult for yacht crewmembers to plan for their health insurance needs. 

Staying in contact with an experienced yacht insurance broker, such as MHG, is imperative, as they will keep abreast of all regulatory changes that are happening regarding the MLC and Health Care Reform. Bononi states that it really boils down to each individual crew member getting adequate coverage for themselves that meets their specific needs, even if this comes in the form of an additional policy over what the yacht owner provides. 

His other important piece of advice is not to wait: “Health insurance only gets more expensive the older you get, so getting on board early with a comprehensive health policy can help with future costs.” Bononi’s full interview is available in the August issue of Dockwalk magazine. 

If you are a yacht crewmember seeking to learn more about health insurance options available to you, call MHG today and let a skilled representative explain more regarding the MLC and Health Care Reform. MHG Insurance can also provide you with numerous quotes from top-rated insurance companies who offer policies that meet your budget and individual needs. Call MHG today at 954-828-1819 or learn more by visiting mhginsurance.com

How Upcoming Regulatory Changes Might Affect Captains and Crew