International marine claims conference 29 9 1 10 2004
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International Marine Claims Conference 29.9 – 1.10.2004. The handling of Hull & Machinery claims in the London market Philip Cornick. Head of Claims, London Market Division, Brit Syndicates Limited - Syndicate 2987 at Lloyd’s and Brit Insurance Limited.

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International Marine Claims Conference 29.9 – 1.10.2004

The handling of Hull & Machinery claims in the London market

Philip Cornick.

Head of Claims, London Market Division,

Brit Syndicates Limited - Syndicate 2987 at Lloyd’s and

Brit Insurance Limited.

Chairman of the Lloyd’s Market Association

Marine Claims Committee.


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The London market consists of:

  • Lloyd’s syndicates

  • Companies belonging to the International Underwriting Association (‘IUA’)

  • Other non-affiliated companies, many of whom are subsidiaries or branch offices of major foreign insurance organisations


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Most business is written on a subscription basis through the broker network

Claims are usually handled by the leading Lloyd’s syndicate and company insurer(s)

Following insurers delegate their responsibility

Lloyd’s syndicates delegate to Xchanging Claims Services (‘XCS’) – formerly the Lloyd’s Claims Office (‘LCO’) under the terms of the Lloyd’s 1999 Claims Scheme

IUA company insurers delegate to the leading IUA company insurer (sometimes the two leading IUA company insurers)

The non-affiliated companies usually agree their own claims

A small number of organisations within the London market take a different approach to claims handling


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1. the broker network How is a claim first advised to the leading insurer?

  • by the broker?

    This is the usual way in which claims are advised to the leading insurer in London

  • by the assured/owner?

    It is unusual for claims to be advised by the assured/owner unless stipulated in the slip/policy

  • other?

    Claims are occasionally advised by the assured’s appointed Average Adjuster or lawyer


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2. How does the leading insurer respond? the broker network

  • Usually through the broker or via the same route as he has been advised

  • Depending upon the circumstances he may instruct the broker to appoint a surveyor and/or any other appropriate expert

  • He may also contact the P&I Club in the event of a collision claim, especially if hull insurers are covering 3/4 or 4/4 RDC


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3. How are claims handled by or on behalf of the leading insurer outside of ‘working hours’?

The main contact for all of the parties involved in the claim is the broker

The broker has historically been available outside of normal office hours and is usually able to handle the majority of issues which may arise when the leading insurer is unavailable

Most claims adjusters and brokers are now contactable by mobile phone

Alternative route is occasionally available via the placing broker to the leading insurer

If the leading insurer cannot be contacted, most London brokers would react accordingly, e.g. if a surveyor is urgently required, the broker will usually contact the Salvage Association


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4. insurer outside of ‘working hours’?How are surveyors selected/appointed?

  • by the leading insurer? Yes. Usually via the broker although a growing number of appointments are now being made directly with the surveyor

  • from an approved panel? The majority of appointments issued by London insurers are to the Salvage Association

  • A number of other surveyors are increasingly being appointed 

  • A small number of London insurers have an ‘approved panel’

  • Occasionally the surveyor to be appointed will be written into the policy


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  • by locality? Locality of the casualty is rarely a decisive factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areas

  • by speciality/expertise? Dependent entirely upon the complexity of the casualty and the necessity for a specific expertise 

  • by cost? Rarely the overriding factor in the decision to appoint a surveyor

  • by the assured/owner? Only if written into the slip/policy

  • other? Occasionally the broker or assured appoints a surveyor on insurers’ behalf outside normal ‘working hours’


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5. factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areasWhat instructions (if any) are issued to the surveyor by the leading insurer?

  • Standard instruction by London insurers is usually ‘to attend and survey the damage’

  • Speed and angle of blow surveys are always requested for collision/allision claims

  • Detailed instructions to a Salvage Association surveyor are usually unnecessary

  • Supplementary instructions often issued following initial report from the surveyor


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6. factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areasAre Terms of Engagement and/or ServiceLevel Agreements used for such appointments? If so, are they issued by insurers or by the surveyor?

  • London insurers are increasingly using Terms of Engagement and Service Level Agreements for the appointment and management of third parties

  • Several leading insurers have arrangements in place with the Salvage Association

  • The number of similar arrangements with other surveyors is growing

  • Most arrangements are the result of negotiations between insurers and surveyors

  • Larger multi-national insurance organisations have ‘standard’ documents


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7. factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areasWho appoints lawyers/attorneys/other experts in non-contentious claims?

  • the assured/owner?  

  • Most of these appointments are customarily made by the assured/owner

  • Usually of the same firm/partner unless jurisdictional issues

  • Insurers much prefer to be consulted before any such appointments

  • insurers? 

  • Unusual unless owner does not have a network of appropriate contacts

  • If appointed by the assured/owner, is the appointment ratified by the leading insurer?

  • The leading London insurers are usually asked to ratify the appointment and/or issue any additional requests for reporting/areas of investigation etc.


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8. factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areasHow are lawyers/attorneys/other experts selected/appointed by insurers?

  • from an approved panel?

  • A small number of London insurers operate a formal approved panel

  • Most claims adjusters have an extensive list of contacts

  • by locality?

  • Traditionally instructions from London insurers have been to London-based solicitors

  • Noticeable increase in the appointments of local lawyers in recent years 

  • Most appointments for casualties in US waters will be made directly to an appropriate firm of attorneys in the US


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  • by speciality/expertise? factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areas

  • A significant factor but would depend entirely on the complexity of the casualty

  • by cost?

  • Rarely the overriding factor

  • other?

  • Often appointed by London insurers due to prior experience with and knowledge of the assured and awareness of existing relationships with the insurers


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9. factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areasWhat instructions (if any) are issued to the lawyer/attorney/other expert?

  • Specific instructions are rarely issued in writing (occasionally orally)

  • Appointee usually aware what is required, especially in collision and salvage cases

  • Areas for investigation may be identified and agreed following preliminary report


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10. factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areasAre Terms of Engagement and/or ServiceLevel Agreements used for such appointments? If so, are they issued by insurers or by the lawyer/attorney/expert?

  • Such arrangements are increasingly being used by London insurers for direct appointments

  • The Terms of Engagement tend to be produced by the expert

  • Service Level Agreements are usually produced by the insurers

  • Larger multi-national insurance organisations have ‘standard’ documents


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11. factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areasAre expense budgets considered/agreed (and if so, monitored) for appointed experts?

  • Historically not a fundamental part of the claims process in the London market

  • Most insurers are now requesting estimates of fees and costs likely to be incurred

  • Many Terms of Engagement and especially Service Level Agreements already include as mandatory such items as expense budgets and the monitoring thereof

  • The senior management of all London insurers now requires far greater concentration on the establishment of budgets, pre-approval of sub-appointments and overall tighter management of claims-related costs


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12. factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areasHow and when are insurers aware of the identity of the assured’s appointed Average Adjuster?

  • Usually only known to the leading insurer when a request for payment on account or a final adjustment is issued

  • Many London insurers now ask at the outset of a claim for the identity of the Average Adjuster and for copies of his reports throughout the claim


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13. factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areasWhat communication (if any) is there between insurers and the Average Adjuster prior to issue of the final adjustment or of any request for payment on account?

  • Historically very little communication

  • Attempts made by London insurers and the Average Adjusters to rectify the situation

  • Often considerable dialogue and protracted correspondence between the surveyor and the Average Adjuster


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14. factor as the Salvage Association is able to respond in most major shipping areasHow are reserves established for both indemnity and fees?

  • Indemnity reserves are usually established by the leading insurer based upon the recommendations of the appointed surveyor (and possibly the Average Adjuster for GA claims)

  • Occasionally an estimate may be received directly from the assured

  • Reserves for salvage and collision liability claims will usually follow the recommendations of the appointed lawyer

  • Inconsistency between the leading insurers in the London market

  • Some will enter the surveyor’s repair estimates as the reserve whereas others will assess and uplift the reserve, especially if the estimated cost of repairs excludes items such as dry-docking and general expenses which can often be considerable


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  • Fee reserves are also rarely established for the cost of the Average Adjuster or for the cost of the surveyor

  • Fee reserves are rarely established at the outset for appointed lawyers although they may be added if or when the lawyer recommends such a reserve

  • Terms of Engagement and Service Level Agreements which address these areas should greatly improve the standard of reserving for fees


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15. Average Adjuster or for the cost of the surveyor What liaison (if any) is there between the leading insurer and the P&I Club?

  • Generally little liaison, if any, except in collision and salvage cases

  • Several leading insurers are now establishing closer links with the P&I Clubs

  • Especially in collision cases if hull insurers are responsible for 3/4 or 4/4 RDC

  • Also if hull insurers exclude RDC to ensure full credit for any ultimate recovery

  • Historically the P&I Club has communicated with the assured - its member

  • The assured is left to keep hull insurers advised of developments


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16. W Average Adjuster or for the cost of the surveyor hat is the broker’s role in the claims process?

The broker plays a fundamental role in the claims process in the London market.

He is responsible for:

advising the leading insurers of the claim;

maintaining the claims file and updating insurers;

obtaining agreement from the leading insurers to settlement of the claim;

collection of the funds from all insurers;

payment to the assured.

The broker is also the point of contact for all parties and the conduit for all queries


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17. What is the standard approach, if any, to issuing (counter) guarantees in salvage and collision cases?

  • There is no ‘standard’ approach to this issue

  • Most London insurers will usually sign the well-known ‘Short form’ guarantee

  • However they are increasingly reluctant to provide guarantees for singleton vessels

  • Most (counter) guarantees are issued for 100% of the required amount

  • Further counter guarantee from the assured for any applicable deductible

  • Inconsistent approach on the requirement for such counter guarantees


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18. (counter) guarantees in salvage and collision cases?How are claims paid?

  •  via the broker?

  • As most of the insurance placed in London is via brokers, this is the usual method for payment of claims

  • direct to the assured?

  • Rarely, but occasionally if difficulties with any intermediaries in the chain between insurers and the assured


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19. (counter) guarantees in salvage and collision cases?Is there a central accounting system for insurers in your market?

Yes. All Lloyd’s syndicates, IUA companies and many of the non-affiliated companies use Xchanging Ins-sure Services (‘XIS’) – a merger of the former Lloyd’s Policy Signing Office (‘LPSO’) and the London Processing Centre (‘LPC’)

Accounts on a daily basis to all brokers

Other London insurers settle their claims directly with the broker

The broker then forwards all monies received to the assured


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20. (counter) guarantees in salvage and collision cases?Is there any protocol in operation in your market that governs the handling of claims?If so, please provide brief details, e.g. timescales, penalties etc.

No. There are a number of existing practices and developing initiatives as follow:

  • Lloyd’s syndicates handle claims under the Lloyd’s 1999 Claims Scheme

  • IUA companies handle their claims in accordance with agreed IUA procedures

  • A fundamental reorganisation of the London insurance market entitled ‘London Market Principles’ (‘LMP’) is under way including a draft LMP Claims Protocol

  • Lloyd’s Claims Strategy Review. A major review of the claims process for the handling of all claims at Lloyd’s concentrating initially on introducing revised and robust ‘Peer Review’ procedures and introducing a set of Minimum Standards to which all Managing Agents must adhere


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  • Finally, no reference to the claims procedures incorporated in the International Hull Clauses 1.11.2002 and 1.11.2003.

  • Little business written to date on these clauses

  • Misleading to include the claims procedures detailed therein in any overview of the way hull claims are currently handled in the London market

  • Hoped that the clauses find favour with the brokers/assureds, especially with regard to the handling of claims


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