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Buying Insurance 101

Young couple shaking hands with a female agentBuying insurance, no matter what type, can be an intimidating and daunting task. For one, there is a ton of tricky lingo, a plethora of different coverages amounts and types, and of course the cost. Unless you are someone who works in the insurance industry, chances are insurance lingo can sometimes sound like a different language, and confusing protocol leaving you wondering what to do next.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way! Follow these 5 easy steps when making any insurance purchasing decision to help ease your mind and make the process as smooth and simple as possible.

What am I trying to protect?

When buying insurance, the first thing you need to ask yourself is “What am I trying to protect?” Are you trying to protect your business? Your health? Your kids? Your assets?

Once you have the answer to that question it will narrow down what you should be looking for. For insurance, If you wanted to protect your business, you would want to consider a General Liability policy, or Marine General Liability depending on the business. Protecting your kids? Look into life insurance.

What is my budget?

Once you know what type of insurance product you are in the market for, next you need to figure out your budget. After all, you don’t want to lapse your policy because you can’t afford it down the line if things become tight down the road, so be smart. Depending on your situation and what you are trying to insure, sit down and figure out what you can realistically afford, and what level of priority is the type of insurance you need.

Who do I know?

One thing that can make the decision easier is to figure out if you know anyone that currently has what are looking to get. If you do, ask them about it. What are the pros and cons? Is there anything they would do differently? Is there anything you need to look out for?

What don’t I know?

As with anything you buy, you should always do your own research. Figure out what products are out there, what pitfalls there are, and anything else that will help you get the best out of what you are buying.

Seek out a reputable broker!

Insurance Brokers often get a bad reputation but using a broker can help you avoid situations like this. For one, the majority of brokers are well-versed with the ins and outs of the insurance industry and can help you avoid a negative trend that you may otherwise know nothing about. Not to mention, brokers work for you! Brokers typically operate at no extra cost to you as it would be if you went straight to the insurance company to get your plan. If you would like to learn more details of using an insurance broker, read our previous blog, “Why You Should Use an Insurance Broker”.

Having proper insurance is important whether you are looking to protect your business, your loved ones, or yourself! Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to find the type of insurance you are in search of, and policy that works best for you and your budget. If you are interested in purchasing, or have any questions about marine crew insurance, life & health insurance, travel insurance, expatriate insurance, property & casualty insurance, or ocean marine insurance, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com.

Follow these 5 easy steps when making any insurance purchasing decision to help ease your mind and make the process as smooth and simple as possible.

Shot of a couple looking stressed out while working on their finances at homeThe promise of an amazing benefit is great, but what happens when you try to use that benefit and experience resistance? That seems to be happening more and more when it comes to low-cost insurance plans. When buying insurance, a person is buying an intangible promise. With that mindset, one can see why low-cost insurance is rarely ever low-cost.

Can’t Have Good, Quick, and Cheap

Ever hear the saying you can’t have your cake and eat it to? Typically, with anything in life, you get what you pay for. Consumers are constantly trying to save money any way they can on products or services they buy. However, depending on the product or service, a good “deal” can quickly turn into an absolute nightmare. Low-cost insurance plans are no different. Consumers can expect to receive delayed quotes, slow service, claims issues, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

You’ll Pay for It Later

Saving money on premium doesn’t always mean that you’re saving money overall! Many times, those who opt for cheaper insurance end up paying more in the long run because of a lack of coverage that was unknown to them when trying to use their insurance, or even worse, no coverage at all. Imagine being involved in an emergency situation that ends up with you being in the hospital, the last thing you want to be worrying about in that moment is being stuck with the entire hospital bill which could end up being tens of thousands of dollars.

Possibility of No Service

One trend that has popped up as of late are insurance companies offering cheap plans to grow their business. However, businesses can’t afford to continue to operate on low margins, so the customers are the ones who end up suffering. Having a plan with great benefits, but no service when actually trying to use it results in disappointment for the consumer.

Consumers vs. Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are usually very large, so going toe to toe with one is no easy task if you have a dispute with the plan that you have purchased. Even if the consumer is completely in the right about a particular claim or situation, the costs and time involved can be substantial. It is for this reason that you really need to do your research and choose the best plan for your needs, not just the cheapest.

Use a Broker!

Insurance Brokers often get a bad reputation but using a broker can help you avoid situations like this. For one, the majority of brokers are well-versed with the ins and outs of the insurance industry and can help you avoid a negative trend that you may otherwise know nothing about. Not to mention, brokers work for you! Brokers typically operate at no extra cost to you as it would be if you went straight to the insurance company to get your plan. If you would like to learn more details of using an insurance broker, read our previous blog, “Why You Should Use an Insurance Broker”.

Having proper insurance is important in every aspect of life. Whether you are at sea needing international coverage, looking for proper life insurance coverage, going on a vacation, etc. MHG is your specialized broker. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to find the policy that works best for you. If you are interested in purchasing, or have any questions about marine crew insurance, travel insurance, U.S. life and health, expatriate insurance, or property and casualty, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com.

When buying insurance, a person is buying an intangible promise. With that mindset, one can see why low-cost insurance is rarely ever low-cost.

Aerial view of business port with Shore crane loading containers in freight ship.Shipyard owners are concerned with protecting their businesses from exposure to financial damage, especially in the form of lawsuits and liability issues. As part of their ongoing efforts to insulate their businesses from harm, these conscientious proprietors are checking to make sure that the companies they do business with meet all insurance coverage requirements. If your maritime business lacks the necessary USL&H coverage, you could find yourself facing the harshest of penalties – including the loss of valuable contracts, the imposition of stiff fines, and even actual jail time!

Does your business have the USL&H coverage it needs? Find out by perusing this handy guide on the key facts of Maritime Workers Compensation coverage:

USL&H Is a Requirement to Work on Board Vessels 65' or Greater in Length or at a Dock, Port, or Shipyard

USL&H, which refers to the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, was enacted to provide compensation to employees in the event of their injury or death while performing maritime work on board a vessel or at a dock, port, or shipyard on navigable waters of the United States. It also protects the employer from claims by employees for medical bills and lost wages. USL&H is federally mandated, which means companies that fail to obtain coverage as required are subject to stiff penalties that can include fines of up to $10,000 and incarceration for a year. Even more seriously, uninsured employers and company officers may also be held personally liable for compensation and any other benefits that may accrue to an injured employee.

USL&H Is Workers' Comp Coverage for Contractors Working on/with Vessels

USL&H coverage provides benefits similar to Workers' Compensation to contractors performing work on or with vessels on navigable waters of the United States. Accidental injuries, occupational diseases, and death arising from employment are covered by Workers' Comp; similar benefits accrue to maritime employees under USL&H coverage. Even contractors’ employees who have "incidental USL&H" exposure, such as electricians, heating and AC contractors, flooring installers, and other personnel performing repairs on equipment located on a boat, are subject to the USL&H Workers’ Compensation Act if they suffer any injuries or illness while performing their duties.

Shipyards Can Require USL&H Coverage for Even a Single Employee

While USL&H benefits are similar to benefits provided by Workers’ Compensation Insurance, the rules are far more stringent. Workers’ Comp is only required for businesses with four or more employees in Florida, each state has its own requirements. Contractors that fall under USL&H guidelines, however, need to provide coverage even if only one employee at their company will be performing qualifying work.

Carrying Inadequate Marine Insurance Coverage Can Be Costly

In addition to USL&H coverage, MHG Insurance Brokers also provide marine general liability insurance, which protects you in the case of liability or property damages to a third party while engaged in marine related operations. Marine general liability insurance is an absolute necessity for any business providing repair or other services on vessels, as even seemingly minor damage to a boat can prove to be expensive. Now that you know the relevant details about USL&H – shipyards are checking if you have it, Federal law requires you to carry it, and there are stiff penalties for companies that do not have it - the experienced Insurance Specialists at MHG Insurance Brokers can help you obtain the USL&H policy that best suits your needs.

At MHG, we understand the unique environmental conditions of working on the sea, as well as the accompanying challenges. We strive to help marine companies find the best, most affordable marine insurance plans to suit each and every employee.

To learn more about USL&H coverage, marine general liability insurance, and other marine insurance plans, call MHG Insurance Brokers at +1 954 828 1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com

Does your business have the USL&H coverage it needs? Find out by perusing this handy guide on the key facts of Maritime Workers Compensation coverage.

Kayaking and canoeing with family. Children on canoe. Family on kayak ride.Did you know MHG Insurance Brokers is offering Tour & Excursion Operators Legal Liability insurance, also known as Shore-Ex Insurance? Here’s more about our program.

The Basics

Shore-Ex Insurance is a package contingent liability program designed specifically for tour operators seeking to work with the cruise line industry. Depending on the nature of the business itself, the program offers three principal lines of insurance coverage that address the exposures of the operation in question.

1. Commercial General Liability- Responds to suits brought against you by third parties on the grounds of bodily injury and/or material damage caused by your negligence.

2. Contingent Watercraft Liability- Provides excess insurance coverage that sits on top of an underlying Protection & Indemnity (P&I) policy thereby increasing your overall limit of insurance.

3. Contingent Auto Liability- Provides coverage over and above any locally placed Commercial Auto policies for liability arising from the operation of your motor vehicles.

Highlights

· Includes worldwide jurisdiction, satisfying cruise line requirements.

· Limits up to $5,000,000 available.

· ‘A’ rated insurance carrier.

Types of Excursions / Tours that are Covered

The Shore-Ex policy offers coverage for a wide variety of excursions and tours. Whether your company offers sightseeing, scuba, paddle boarding, parasailing, ziplining or ATV tours among other activities, we can help!

We Work for You!

Let us focus on your insurance so you can get back to running your business. Even with the best intentions, accidents happen and it is important to have the proper insurance coverage in place to appropriately cover the day-to-day risks that you face. As a trusted partner of the cruise lines, we have been providing insurance advice and guidance to the cruise industry for over 25 years. Not only do our dedicated insurance specialists have the knowledge and expertise to pair you with the right policy, but our team consists of staff who were once underwriters for Tour & Excursion Operators Liability and who ran shore excursion companies worldwide. Whether you are setting up a new business and purchasing a policy for the first time or already have a policy in place, we can help.

Having proper insurance is important in every aspect of life. Here at MHG Insurance Brokers, we offer a variety of different solutions for many industry sectors. From Yacht Crew insurance, Property & Casualty, Ocean Marine insurance to Individual and Group Health insurance, even Life Insurance, we offer a comprehensive suite of tailored products to protect you, your family and your business. To avail of some advice directly from our team of experts, read our previous blog, “If You Could Give One Piece of Advice to Your Clients, What Would It Be?” If you are interested in purchasing a Tour & Excursion Operators Legal Liability Policy, or simply need some more information contact us at mhginsurance.com or call us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668. Our team of brokers have the knowledge and experience to consult with you on the best coverage for your budget, and can also assist you with any insurance questions you may have.

Did you know MHG Insurance Brokers is offering Tour & Excursion Operators Legal Liability insurance, also known as Shore-Ex Insurance? Here’s more about our program.

MarineWelderCommercial General Liability insurance is designed to cover land-based operations. Typically, there is an exclusion in most CGL policies for any work done onboard ship, docks, or piers. The reason for this exclusion is that marine risks are better suited for a Marine General Liability policy. One major area of concern for a marine risk is the coverage for care, custody, and control. This coverage is critical for ship repairers especially and is a standard coverage on an MGL policy.

A Look Back

As you may have read in one of our previous blog posts, Marine General Liability vs. General Liability, we explained that General Liability excludes work done on ships, docks, and bridges. A General Liability policy doesn’t include watercraft coverage; including the ownership, maintenance, and use of watercraft owned by you, the insured. The client, shipyard or vessel may never know all these exclusion by just looking at a certificate of insurance. The forms and endorsements are included in the policy wording- 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.

Commercial General Liability

Commercial General Liability policies protect business owners against claims of liability for bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury (slander and false advertising). Premises/operations coverage pays for bodily injury or property damage that occurs on your premises or as a result of your business operations. Products/completed operations coverage pays for bodily injury and property damage that occurs away from your business premises and is caused by your products or completed work.

Marine General Liability

Marine General Liability policies are designed specifically for those who work on vessels, docks, and ports. These policies include coverage for Marine Contractors, ship repairers, and others who work on or near water.

Why didn’t I Know about This?

Often, contractors that perform work such as carpentry or welding will be asked to do work on a ship or in a port. Their normal operations are on land and they carry CGL coverage. Many do not realize that their current policy will not cover them for work done on a vessel or on a dock. Most shipyards, vessels, and ports don’t check the coverages listed on a certificate of insurance provided by the contractor, they may let them work with improper coverages, not knowing the exclusions that the contractors have in their policies. This is where the problem arises, since they may not be covered in the event of a loss or accident.

Why aren’t Marine Contractors Covered?

Commercial General Liability policies are not designed to cover marine operations. In order to offer coverage for a risk, the underwriter needs to understand the operation. Class codes are used as a way for an underwriter to rate a risk and determine the premium paid. Class codes are also a way for an insurance company to decide what types of business they want to insure. It is important that the company that insures your business understands exactly what you do and how you do it. Otherwise, you may be paying for a policy that will not cover a loss specific to your business. Marine businesses are best insured by a marine underwriter with an insurance company that is familiar with the marine industries.

Working with an expert insurance broker, like the brokers at MHG Insurance Brokers, can help you obtain a policy that specifically addresses your needs and is customized to your benefit. 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 mhginsurance.com or calling 954-828-1819. For more information on filing an MGL claim, read our previous blog, “How to File a Marine General Liability Insurance Claim”.

Typically, there is an exclusion in most CGL policies for any work done onboard ship, docks, or piers. Read to learn more!

626461282Whether 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 may not realize that a General Liability is not adequate to cover their operations; unfortunately, because of numerous exclusions involved in a General Liability policy, the insured may not be 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 could be 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 damages or liability to a third person engaged in marine operations.

Working with an expert insurance broker, like the brokers at MHG Insurance Brokers, can help you obtain a policy that specifically addresses your needs and is customized to your benefit. 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 mhginsurance.com or calling 954-828-1819. For more information on filing an MGL claim, read our previous blog, “How to File a Marine General Liability Insurance Claim”.

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. Read more!

Common Shore Ex Injuries

625895872Cruises are made to be a fun memorable vacation that individuals, couples, and families can remember for years to come. A major part of the cruise industry are excursions. As Tour and Excursion Operators know, one of the first things guests do when stepping onboard a cruise ship is to book all the excursions they plan to take part in. While excursions are often considered one of the most fun parts of going on a cruise, there are still liabilities, and accidents that can happen, which is why waivers should be signed, and you should be insured! Below are some of the most common injuries reported by Tour and Excursion Operators.

Snorkeling

We were notified of 2 separate incidents where the individuals both suffered fatal heart attacks whilst snorkeling. Both had long term medical histories which showed it was effectively ‘natural causes’ and no law suit was filed.

Diving

Seeing the world under the surface of the ocean is amazing. However, there is heavy and expensive equipment involved with scuba diving. Luckily, many places will not let people dive without a proper license, but that doesn’t mean you still aren’t exposed to liabilities upon injuries. For instance, what if someone doesn’t come up to the surface properly?

Animal Bites

Many of the top attractions and excursions throughout the Caribbean include swimming with a variety of sea creatures. Whether it be dolphins, sharks, sting rays, or other fish, accidents can happen, and there have been reports of people getting bitten or stung.

Jet Skis

Jet skis are one of the most thrilling and exciting excursions that people choose to partake in. While they can be a very enjoyable time, such thrills and excitement can come at a cost. Improper use of Jet skis has been responsible for tragic crashes, injuries, or even worse. One of the main causes of this stems from inexperience of the individual that is operating the craft, who aren’t well versed in the rules and laws of the water when it comes to other boats or vessels in the area.

Zip Lines

Last but not least, many believe that the most frequent injuries are sustained on zip lines. While you may be thinking that many of the injuries occur because of a fall that is not necessarily the case. Far more common, is injury that is sustained when reaching the end of the line and impacting against poorly maintained equipment at speed.

Now that you are further aware of some of the accidents that can happen in the Shore-Ex industry, cover your liabilities with Shore-Ex Insurance, also known as Tour and Excursion Operators Liability Insurance. Shore-Ex Insurance is a package contingent liability program designed specifically for tour operators seeking to work with the cruise line industry. For more information on Shore Ex Insurance, read our previous blog, “Customized Insurance for Tour and Excursion Operators”. If you are interested in purchasing a Tour & Excursion Operators Legal Liability Policy, or simply need some more information contact us at mhginsurance.com or call us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668. Our team of brokers have the knowledge and experience to consult with you on the best coverage for your budget, and can also assist you with any insurance questions you may have.

While excursions are often considered one of the most fun parts of going on a cruise, there are still liabilities, and accidents that can happen.

mgl claimNo matter what type of business you have, every business has unique needs when it comes to liability protection. Especially if your business is conducted near or on the water, such as marinas and shipyards. Marine general liability coverage is necessary for businesses of this nature. There are some businesses who aren’t aware of the difference between marine general liability and commercial general liability. One difference is that commercial general liability policies often include an exclusion for work done on or near water. This is important because if the incorrect policy is purchased, there may be no coverage at the time of a claim. Claims typically happen when you least expect them. The following are three common marine general liability claims. 

Slip and Falls 

We are all familiar with slip and fall accidents. Businesses on or near the water can create more opportunities for wet floors, or other areas of moisture. It is important to have proper signage around your property/building giving warnings of “slippery when wet.” Installing non-skid flooring is another way to help prevent a slip and fall claim. Keep in mind that slip and falls can happen whether there are wet floors or not. No matter how much precaution you take, you still need proper insurance coverage in case of a claim.

Damage to Someone Else’s Property

Just as damages and mishaps can happen on your property, they can happen on others’ property as well. If your business involves employees doing work at a marina, shipyard or private dock, you may be held liable for damage caused by your employee. Properly train your employees, and provide safety procedures that employees are required to follow at every location. Marine contractors that do work involving welding are especially vulnerable to this type of claim.

Pollution Liability

Work done on or near the water involving boats has an inherent risk of a pollution loss. There are state and federal regulations involving pollution both from gasoline and oil. Both substances are used daily in many marine operations. It is very important that the policy include coverage for Sudden and Accidental Pollution Liability. A marine contractor can be subject to stiff fines and penalties for polluting a body of water.

Having the proper insurance coverage is crucial for the success of any business, and every business needs coverage specific for its characteristics. For more information on marine general liability, read our previous blog, “Marine General Liability vs. General Liability.” If you have any more questions, would like further explanation, want to change your general liability policy to a marine general liability policy, or are interested in any other form of business insurance, please contact us by calling 954-828-1819 or visiting mhginsurance.com. We look forward to assisting you with all of your insurance needs.

Claims typically happen when you least expect them. The following are three common marine general liability claims.

518026300Shipyard owners are concerned with protecting their businesses from exposure to financial damage, especially in the form of lawsuits and liability issues. As part of their ongoing efforts to insulate their businesses from harm, these conscientious proprietors are checking to make sure that the firms they do business with meet all insurance coverage requirements. If your maritime business lacks the necessary USL&H coverage, you could find yourself facing the harshest of penalties – including the loss of valuable contracts, the imposition of stiff fines, and even actual jail time!

Does your business have the USL&H coverage it needs? Find out by perusing this handy guide on the key facts of Maritime Workers Compensation coverage:

USL&H Is a Requirement to Work on Board Vessels 65' or Greater in Length or at a Dock, Port, or Shipyard

USL&H, which refers to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, was enacted to provide compensation to employees in the event of their injury or death while performing maritime work on board a vessel or at a dock, port, or shipyard on navigable waters of the United States. USL&H is federally mandated, which means companies that fail to obtain Maritime Workers Compensation coverage as required are subject to stiff penalties that can include fines of up to $10,000 and incarceration in prison for a year. Even more seriously, uninsured employers and company officers may also be held personally and severally liable for compensation and any other benefits that may accrue to an injured employee.

USL&H Is Workers' Comp Coverage for Contractors Working on/with Vessels

USL&H coverage provides benefits similar to Workers' Compensation to contractors performing any maritime work on or with vessels on navigable waters of the United States. Accidental injuries, occupational diseases, and death arising from the employee's employment are covered by Workers' Comp; similar benefits accrue to maritime employees under USL&H coverage. Even contractors’ employees who have "incidental USL&H" exposure, such as electricians, heating and AC contractors, flooring installers, and other personnel performing repairs on equipment located on a boat, are covered under Maritime Workers Compensation if they suffer any damage while performing their duties.

Shipyards Can Require USL&H Coverage for Even a Single Employee

While USL&H benefits are similar to benefits provided by Workers’ Compensation Insurance, the rules are far more stringent. Workers’ Comp is only required for businesses with four or more employees in Florida, other states may vary, including owners unless they are exempt. Contractors that fall under USL&H guidelines, however, need to provide coverage even if only one employee at their company will be performing qualifying work.

Carrying Inadequate Marine Insurance Coverage Can Be Costly

In addition to Maritime Workers Compensation benefits, MHG Insurance Brokers also provide marine general liability insurance, which protects you in the case of liability or property damages to a third party while engaged in marine related operations. Marine general liability insurance is an absolute necessity for any business providing repair or other services on vessels, as even seemingly minor damage to a boat can prove to be expensive. Now that you know the relevant details about USL&H – shipyards are checking if you have it, Federal law requires you to carry it, and there are stiff penalties for companies that do not have it - the experienced Insurance Specialists at MHG Insurance Brokers can help you obtain the USL&H policy that best suits your needs.

At MHG, we understand the unique environmental conditions of working on the sea, as well as the accompanying challenges. We strive to help marine companies find the best, most affordable marine insurance plans to suit each and every employee.

To learn more about USL&H coverage, marine general liability insurance, and other marine insurance plans, call MHG Insurance Brokers at +1 954 828 1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com

Does your business have the USL&H coverage it needs? Find out by perusing this handy guide on the key facts of Maritime Workers Compensation coverage: