flag stateEver wonder why a yacht or ship had a certain flag on the back of it? Or a certain city and country under the name of the ship? No, it’s not just a flag of their favorite country, or where they are headed next. Believe it or not, those flags and countries have a significant purpose in the maritime industry. A flag state, or flag of convenience, is the state that a yacht or ship is registered or licensed under. Meaning that they have to follow the laws of that state. 

 

Why Do Yachts and Other Vessels Need a Flag State?

If there were no flag states, then who would regulate vessels traveling through the seas? Where would their jurisdiction begin and end? Typically, a vessel needs to be registered under a flag state for international voyages. It’s considered illegal to sail the seas without being registered, much like it is illegal to drive without a license, so think of flag states like the DMV in the United States, or the DVLA in the United Kingdom. 

Why Is Choosing the Right Flag State so Important? 

Choosing the right flag state is very important. There is a reason many commercial vessels register their flags offshore. It can impact how successful you are as a business, by having to follow certain employment and tax laws and other variables that can keep money from reaching your bottom line. It can also have an impact on your liability and privacy. This is why it is typical for many vessels to register offshore with a flag state that may be more “lenient” with certain laws, in order for them to make their business as successful as possible, or for owners to save as much money as possible.

Open Registry vs. Closed Registry

There are different types of registries, open and closed. Open registries allow vessel owners to be registered under their flag of convenience, and can staff a crew of many different nationalities. A closed registry is open only to vessels of that particular nation and must employ crew from that nation. 

The Most Popular Flag States 

The most popular flag state is Panama, with almost a quarter of ocean vessels registering there. Other popular flags include Liberia, Marshall Islands, Malta, Singapore, and Hong Kong. For those that are curious, the most popular flag state for yachts is the Cayman Islands, and the most popular flag state for cruise ships is the Bahamas, with many cruise lines having their ships registered there. Part of the reason yachts and cruise ships are registered in these countries is because the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas have open registries, allowing them to hire large groups of people from around the world, while not having to follow strict employment laws, like the ones that exist in the U.S. or Europe. 

Do you work onboard a yacht or cruise ship and do you have marine crew insurance? Read our blog, “5 Things You Should Know About Crew Insurance.” If you do happen to have the insurance you need, do you know that you may need to precertify to make sure you have the coverage that you thought before heading into a procedure? Read a previous blog, “What Is Precertification?” for help. For specific medical questions or emergencies you should always contact your insurance carrier directly. If you have any general questions about precertification, your current plan, or are interested in purchasing marine crew insurance, contact us at mhginsurance.com or call us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to assist and guide you to the best coverage for your budget.

What Is the Purpose of a Flag State?

Miami International Boat ShowThe Miami international Boat Show is here, and the Palm Beach International Boat Show is just around the corner, which means one thing for yacht crew, BUSY! Boat Shows can be a fun way to mingle and network with your peers in the yachting industry, those who are looking to get into the yachting industry, and let’s not forget those that want to go just to see all the boats. However, it can be quite a busy time for yacht crew with all the events, parties, and functions to attend. And that’s after working all day. There are some things you should be aware of when attending a Boat Show, especially if you are visiting from out of town, which can slip your mind in the midst of everything going on. Here is our list of things to be aware of when visiting a boat show.


1. You May Lose Your Health Insurance If Your Boat Sells 

Boat Shows are a great time with, big parties, events, speakers, and networking. It’s easy to forget the purpose of the show, to sell boats! If you are a crew member of a boat that was sold, it is possible you will lose your health insurance. Be sure to know what the aspects of your insurance plan are, and talk to your captain about what happens if your boat does indeed sell. If you do lose your insurance, it’s not the end of the world, we can help you with that!

2. Temporary Floating Docks 

Temporary floating docks could potentially be a hazard for someone who isn’t experienced walking on them.  They do not offer the same support as a permanent, sturdy dock, and can also be very narrow, weaving in and out of boats like a maze. Someone can easily lose their balance and fall in the water. For those who do have experience walking on docks like these, it is important not to be complacent, and always use caution. 

3. Over Indulgence

It can be very easy to over indulge at a boat show, or any gathering for that matter. Especially after working hard all day and wanting to enjoy yourself at night. With people handing you drink after drink, having a good time with those around you, it can be very easy to lose track of how many you may have had. Being a little intoxicated, walking on floating docks, being in an unfamiliar place, can be a sure recipe for an accident. If you are planning to indulge and don’t want to get too intoxicated, try having a drink and following it with water. 

4. Knowing Your Surroundings 

People travel to boat shows from all over the world. Many of those people aren’t familiar with the location, which may cause some problems. For one, if you have an important meeting at the show, you wouldn’t want to get lost and be late or miss your meeting. Another reason it would behoove you to familiarize yourself with where you are, is in the event of an emergency. It’s always a good idea to know where the closest hospital or Urgent Care facility is located. 

5. Stress 

With everything that is going on at a boat show it can be quite easy to get stressed. There are so many events packed into one short weekend, and let’s not forget all the work to be done on the yacht. You can be overwhelmed quickly. So try to remember to enjoy yourself and have a good time, and remember you are at one of the coolest events in the world!

Don’t forget, the Miami International Boat Show starts February 12th and ends February 16th, and the Palm Beach International Boat Show is March 20th- 23rd

For more information on what’s currently happening with Yacht Crew Insurance, read our previous blog, What Does Cuba’s Opened Borders Mean for Your Insurance? If you are interested in purchasing Crew Insurance, or would just like to talk to us for more information or advice, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. MHG has the Insurance Specialists to get you, your family, or group, the best coverage for your budget.

5 Things to Be Aware of When at a Boat Show

Cuba¡Hola Cuba! It might be time to brush up on your Spanish now that border restrictions between the United States and Cuba have been loosened. For those that don’t know, recently there was a shift in policy by the President of the United States easing travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba, which may soon open a wealth of opportunity for the travel and tourism industry, especially since it’s only 90 miles south of Key West. Many U.S. based insurance companies will begin to pay for claims and reimbursements that they previously never used to.  Does anyone know how to say insurance in Spanish?! 

 

Cuban Coverage 

As you could assume, many Americans, and possibly yachts, will be looking to include Cuba as a destination to see the beaches and other sites, since that it has been off limits for the past 50+ years. With many expected to travel to Cuba, statistics show that accidents are bound to happen, so it is important to know if your insurance provides coverage. If so, any expenses should be covered under the standard term of the policy that you have. So you will have the same coverage in Cuba that you would anywhere. As long as you are visiting under “legal” methods, your policy should provide you with coverage, depending on the carrier. 

Coming Soon 

It is important that you continue to check with your insurance agent whether or not your policy has changed yet. We know of three carriers that have said they will honor claims made from Cuba, and can only assume that others will soon follow. So if your carrier doesn’t cover now, it may very well in the near future. Insurance carriers will also be working over the next couple months to create a doctor network, which will be very helpful to yacht crew and tourists alike. 

Health Concerns

Keep in mind, many Americans more than likely have never been to Cuba, so it would be smart to be prepared for different scenarios. There could be health concerns such as the chikungunya virus that is prevalent throughout the Caribbean. Also, in the event that you do fall ill or require medical attention, be sure to keep vigilant to prevent any fraud. Don’t fall victim to being overcharged. For example, if you are paying $3000 for a checkup, your insurance is not going to reimburse you for that. This is just a consumer beware, not a need for concern, and definitely not an accusation against the Cuban medical environment. 

Keep in mind that all of the changes that are forthcoming are new, and new information can present itself at any time. Be sure to check in regularly to stay aware of any updates. 

If you have any questions about your yacht crew insurance plan regarding Cuba, or are interested in purchasing travel insurance or expat insurance, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com.  For more information on crew insurance, read our previous blog, "5 Things You Should Know About Crew Insurance." MHG has the insurance specialists to assist and advise you, your loved ones, group, or business, on all of your insurance needs.

What Does Cuba's Opened Borders Mean for Your Insurance?

Smile, it’s the Holidays!

Smile Everyone wants to look their best in their holiday photos, but one thing that many people overlook is their teeth. Proper dental care has been shown to not only improve your smile, but it also has been linked to better overall health. If your insurance plan includes dental coverage, why not take advantage of it and take care of those pearly whites? Normally, dental insurance will include a cleaning 2 times per year, as well as basic x-rays and exams at no cost to you.  If the dentist finds cavities or other issues that need to be fixed, typically insurance will pay 50% or even 80% of the cost depending on what treatment you need. There is a limit on benefits every year, so it is important to read your plan carefully. In the meantime, here are 5 key benefits to taking care of your teeth, which hopefully will motivate you to get that perfect smile for 2015! 

 

1. Boosts Your Self-esteem and Confidence 

Decayed teeth and gum disease are often associated not only with an unsightly mouth, but very bad breath. Bad breathe can affect your confidence, self-image, and self-esteem. With a healthy mouth, that's free of gum disease and cavities, your quality of life is also bound to be better. 

2. May Lower Risk of Heart Disease 

Chronic inflammation from gum disease has been associated with the development of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, blockages of blood vessels, and strokes. Experts stop short of saying there is a cause-and-effect between gum disease and these other serious health problems, but the link has shown up in numerous studies. 

3. Preserves Your Memory

Adults with gingivitis (swollen, bleeding gums) performed worse on tests of memory and other cognitive skills than those with healthier gums and mouths, according to a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. Using an antibacterial mouthwash or toothpaste can help reduce bacteria in the mouth that can cause gingivitis. 

4. Reduces Risks of Infection and Inflammation in Your Body

Poor oral health has been linked with the development of infection in other parts of the body. Research has found an association between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. Experts say the mechanism of the destruction of connective tissues in both gum disease and RA is similar. Eating a balanced diet, seeing your dentist regularly, and good oral hygiene helps reduce your risks of tooth decay and gum disease. 

5. Helps Keep Blood Sugar Stable, especially if you have diabetes 

People with uncontrolled diabetes often have gum disease. Having diabetes can make you less able to fight off infection, including gum infections that can lead to serious gum disease. And some experts have found that if you have diabetes, you are more likely to develop severe gum problems than someone without diabetes, which may make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. Reducing your risk of gingivitis by protecting your oral health may help with blood sugar control. 

 If you are interested in adding Dental Insurance to your insurance plan, contact MHG Insurance Brokers today at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit mhginsurance.com for more information. Our insurance specialists have the experience to advise and assist you in selecting the best plan for you, and your family.

Smile, it’s the Holidays!

MHG53When it comes to international yacht crew insurance, being as open and forthcoming as possible, both before and during the time you are insured, can be critical to having a successful insurance experience. When you ask people about their medical status, the most common response is “I’m fine”. Unfortunately many people often... shall we say... “overstate” how healthy they are.  Normally, this will not bode well once a claim against insurance is made. 

 

Let’s review the 5 most common pitfalls: 

1. Non-disclosure of a past medical condition

Not only can this be a dangerous situation for you and your fellow crew, but it also sets up a scenario where in a worst case, your insurance could be cancelled. Insurance enrollment forms are a contract, and misrepresentation or incomplete information can render your insurance policy void. It’s important, no matter how minor it may seem, to disclose your entire medical history (and keep a file).

2. Non-disclosure of an ongoing medical condition 

Accurately representing your health to the insurance company (and even your insurance broker) is really important. Many people don’t realize that taking a regular prescription drug is significant in the eyes of the insurer.  When the claims start coming in for the cost of those medications, the insurer is most certainly going to start asking questions and that’s likely to take you down the path of having your claims denied. With all of the necessary information, we can provide you with personalized support that works for you. 

3. Overstating the recovery of a previous illness or injury 

It’s important to be careful about saying, “I’m fine” after recovery from an illness or injury. This is particularly important with back, shoulder and neck injuries.  With the work that you do, we often see crew returning to work before they really should and that doesn’t always give the body time to fully recover. Not being in pain, may not mean you are fully recovered. 

4. Non-disclosure of all the facts at the time of claim

If you have an injury or illness and you need to make a claim, it is important to fill out the claim form completely with as much detail as possible surrounding the circumstances.  This may include an incident report, or possibly a police report(!) along with your own personal narrative, which can be valuable.  Withholding information usually will simply result in your claim being delayed or otherwise declined.

5. Waiting until you have insurance to see a doctor     

This is the most critical item of all the pitfalls, when it comes to your wellbeing.  Do not delay seeking medical attention until you have health insurance. Not only are you putting your health at risk, but once you do see the doctor, the insurance company will probably not pay your claim because you had the condition prior to purchasing insurance. This is a standard clause in most international insurance plans, the language says something to the effect that treatment should have been sought previously by a prudent person. So please be prudent! The key to a successful insurance experience starts from the very beginning and goes all the way until you are no longer in need of health insurance. 

The MHG team looks forward to seeing you at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and will be on hand to answer all of your questions about yacht crew insurance, US health insurance, sick pay / disability income, life insurance and travel insurance. See you at booth 727B located in the USSA Pavilion located in the Yachting Tent! If you’re not attending the show and are still interested in learning more about the different types of insurance that we offer, please call MHG Insurance Brokers at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com to find the insurance plan that perfectly meets your needs.  

Yacht Crew Insurance: Putting All the Cards on the Table

resume imageThe yachting industry is entering a busy season of boat shows and symposiums. Our yacht crew insurance clients, especially captains, have been chatting with us about the best ways for crew to find their perfect job. With their help we have put together the following tips on creating the perfect multi-national resume for the marine industry. Building a Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) can be a difficult and daunting task. A resume directly represents yourself to an employer, and many times it is a first impression. Add to that, the multi-cultural  environment of our industry and the task becomes more difficult. You should demand it be unparalleled, filled with professional experience, qualifications, strengths, and key skills catered toward the job you want. You wouldn’t go to a job interview poorly dressed and unprepared, so why treat your resume that way? Get your resume looking like it’s dressed to the nines by following these helpful tips. 

 

Absolute Musts 

There are a few things you must include when it comes to building a yacht crew resume that you may not think about. 

1. Include a photo.  

If you have ever worked in an office, you know that this is not a norm in the corporate world, but in the yachting industry, appearance is important. Your photo should signify that you are friendly and professional. If you have a uniform from your current or previous job, that would be the best option to wear. No sunglasses! Take a look at this photo of our own employee, Johanna as a good example

2. State your nationality and any visas/ work permits you carry.  

3. Note all languages you speak (don't forget your mother tongue!) 

4. State whether you are a smoker or not (and quit if you are!)  

It doesn't really pay to lie here. You will have to live and work side by side with the other crew, so eventually habits will surface.

5. Clearly define your objective.  

Make sure your objective matches the job that you are applying for. You don't want to state your objective is to become a Captain if you are applying for the job of 1st Mate. 

6. List your yachting qualifications.

If possible, include the number of nautical miles traveled. It's not necessary, but as captains scan resumes, if your number is high, it could give you a leg up on the competition. As you consider your yachting qualifications, be sure to include the size and type of boat, the time you spent at the position, the position(s) held, and the locations you covered during your time onboard. If you have any unique experiences to share, consider adding them. One good friend served as Chief Stew on a 162m. yacht in the Mediterranean. When the boat hit issues during a storm, she followed evacuation protocol ensuring the safety of all crew and guests onboard. Engineers will need to include technical information for each boat, Chefs could include any specific events or unusual situations, and so on. 

7. List your experience. 

Should you have any experience outside of the yachting community, here is where you would include it. If your experience is extensive, this is a good area to cut.

8. List your education. 

Obviously if you have maritime education, that should go first. If you have university experience, be sure to state it. If not, it can be helpful to include high school (or equivalent) experience. Be sure to clarify the type of school; we work in an international and multicultural industry and names and titles of schools or accreditations are not always clear. 

Absolute Don't

For one, it’s especially important that you don’t lie about any of your experience. The industry is small - captains communicate - and eventually they will find out. 

Structure and Layout 

When it comes to building and structuring your resume’s layout, it is important to ensure your resume is easy to read - the most important things should stand out - and easy to scan. Most captains collecting resumes at the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Symposium & Job Fair will collect a stack of resumes. To stand out and create a great first impression, make sure your resume gives an organized, clean impression. Keep the length to one page, unless you are a very experienced professional who is applying for a very experienced position, then you can use more than one page,  but no more than two! Don't overcrowd the page, make sure you list the most important elements first, and provide contact information for you that is up to date (we recommend including an email address and Skype address, but leaving a mailing address off as your resume could be kept in the boat files for a while and you may have moved on by the time they reach out to you). Don't use more than two fonts or overuse the bold or italic fonts and more than anything CHECK YOUR SPELLING. 

What else should I include? 

Include interests and hobbies. When interviewing for most jobs or careers this wouldn’t be a factor, but again, considering you spend all your time on the boat, captains or yacht owners may want to grasp what you do in your spare time. This can be especially helpful when it comes to your interview. Having something in common with your interviewers can help you to build a good rapport and let them see the ways you would be a good fit for the boat. 

No one likes a Big Ego 

The culture in the U.S. expects job prospects to act confident when building their resumes and attending interviews, whereas in Europe and other places throughout the world, the culture expects job prospects to be more humble and modest. As a result, being in an international career, try to find a middle ground between the two. A good tip to help in this aspect is to write as if you are writing your resume for someone else. For example, if you were writing a resume for a peer, you wouldn’t boast about them, you would be very direct and to the point. This also goes for any interviews or face-to-face meetings.

The Yacht Symposium & Job Fair (October 9-10, 2014) 

All of these tips and information will be incredibly valuable in preparation for the Yacht Symposium & Job Fair on October 9-10, 2014. The event will be held in the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, where you can see me speaking from 3:30-4:00 pm on October 10th about Crew Health Insurance and the Maritime Labour Convention. 

The final word... 

Having a great resume on hand can make or break a career, no matter what the industry. When you save your resume, use a cloud document service like Google Drive or Dropbox so that you can easily share it from your cell phone no matter where in the world you are. And before you go in for any interview, always do your research, which leads to our question for you: 

Question: What was your best or worst job interview?  

The worst interview I ever conducted was one in which I asked, "Why are you a good fit for this position?" and the response was, "What is the position?"


Call MHG Insurance Brokers today at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com for help finding individual or group yacht crew health insurance plans that perfectly meet your needs!

Yacht Crew Resume Guide and Helpful Tips

Yacht Health Insurance Advise for Onboard Safety Hazards Falls don't "just happen," and people don't fall only because they get older. Many falls are linked to a person's physical condition or a medical problem. Other causes could be safety hazards onboard or in your environment. 

 

Some Risk Factors and pointers 

Scientists have linked a number of personal risk factors to falling. Here’s just a few:

  • Muscle weakness, especially in the legs. People with weak muscles are more likely to fall than are those who maintain their muscle strength, as well as their flexibility and endurance.
Are you on your feet all day? Sure you are.  Be aware of muscle weakness in your legs.  Stretch often and stay fit.

  • Blood pressure that drops when you get up from lying down or sitting. This condition -- called postural hypotension -- might result from dehydration, or certain medications.
Drink plenty of water and stay away from too much caffeine or alcohol to help prevent a fall.

  • Wearing unsafe footwear. Backless shoes and slippers, high-heeled shoes, and shoes with smooth leather soles are examples of unsafe footwear.
Sound similar to the shoes you wear? Your feet have to last your entire life. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

  • Sensory problems. If your senses don't work well, you will be less aware of your environment.
Do I need to say more about this? Don’t do things that impair your senses.

  • Not seeing well.  It takes a while for your eyes to adjust to see clearly when you move between darkness and light.
Certainly something you experience frequently onboard, and sunglasses are a requirement.  MHG Insurance Brokers has them if you need a pair, just give us a shout on our MHG Facebook page! Although falls can happen anywhere, well over half of all falls happen at home (onboard). Falls often happen while a person is doing normal daily activities. Some of these falls are caused by factors in the person's living environment. For instance, a slick floor or a poorly lit narrow stairway may lead to a fall.  But I’m sure you never have those conditions onboard, do you? 

Call MHG Insurance Brokers today at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com for more safety information or help finding a yacht health insurance plan that perfectly meets your needs!

Yacht Health Insurance Advice for Onboard Safety Hazards

Group Yacht Crew Insurance Plan OptionsAs a yacht captain, you have the weighty responsibility of choosing a group yacht crew insurance plan for your crew. You have taken your duty seriously, carefully comparing policies and benefits to ensure your crew has comprehensive coverage in all the countries you will be visiting; but have you thought about the subject of routine medical coverage? There is a common perception that routine medical coverage is an unnecessary additional cost; however it’s our experience that including routine medical coverage on your group plan helps to attract and retain crew as well as keep crew members healthy and happy. If you are unfamiliar with the provisions of routine medical coverage, you may be wondering whether your crewmembers truly need this benefit; perusing these 4 reasons to add routine medical coverage to your group yacht crew insurance plan options will help you make the best decision for your crew. 

  1. Regular Medical Checkups Mean Healthier Crewmembers

    Demonstrating an interest in the well-being of your crew is an important step in having a healthy & happy crew whose performance you can rely on. Annual “wellness” visits to a primary care physician or internist, which are covered under routine medical coverage, are generally recommended for all adults after the age of 18 to 20. During these regular check-ups, medical professionals can detect any number of serious medical conditions that affect seemingly healthy young adults, such as hypertension, diabetes, and more.

  2. Annual Checkups Ensure Busy Crewmembers Get the Care They Need

    Crewmembers can end up working so hard that they forget to take the time to take care of themselves. Initially minor physical concerns that are neglected by busy crewmembers who are unwilling or unable to request time off can turn into major problems if left unchecked. During the annual wellness visits that are included as part of routine medical coverage, physicians can identify crewmembers’ health problems while they are still minor, and develop treatment plans to eliminate these health issues before they can turn into serious or even life-threatening problems.

  3. ENG1 Exams Cannot Replace Routine Medical Care

    Many crewmembers think because they undergo bi-yearly ENG1 exams that there is no need to have additional examinations or screenings by a primary physician. Doctors perform a number of essential screenings during annual wellness visits that ENG1 exams do not address. These screenings, which are designed to detect serious medical conditions that can affect otherwise healthy individuals, include mole examinations, gynecological /pelvic exams, with pap smears and mammograms, and blood tests that scan for a variety of conditions, including cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, and thyroid issues.

  4. Routine Medical Coverage is a High Value, Low Expense Addition

    Routine medical coverage is relatively inexpensive to add to a group marine crew insurance plan, especially compared to the perceived value of the benefit. Crewmembers feel appreciated and valued when you add routine medical coverage to their benefits, because the extra coverage makes them feel like their health and well-being is important to their employer.
MHG Insurance Brokers offers a wide range of yacht crew insurance plans, including international health insurance, marine crew disability coverage, and more. Our yacht crew marine insurance brokers have the experience and resources to help you select the best solution for your crews’ particular circumstances, coverage requirements, and budget. Questions about your current yacht crew insurance plan? Our team of Insurance Specialists will be out and about at the Monaco Yacht Show September 24th-27th.

Call MHG Insurance Brokers today at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com  for help finding the group yacht crew health insurance plan that perfectly meets your needs!

Group Yacht Crew Insurance Plan Options