A professional marine insurance surveyor can be a real lifesaver for insurance carriers. Without their competence and skill, you may find yourself stuck with claims pending validation. Or providing coverage for a boat without having the certainty that it’s seaworthy.
So, you’ll have plenty to ponder if you want to ensure you’re hiring the right marine insurance surveyor for the job at hand. Let’s start with the basics.
What is meant by marine survey?
The word “survey” is a synonym for “inspect”. So, a marine survey is a thorough inspection of a boat, which is conducted to ascertain that it’s in good shape and seaworthy.
As an insurance carrier, you are likely to arrange this sort of inspection for different purposes, such as:
- Identifying issues that could result in future claims
- Setting the value of a vessel for your assured’s policy
- Determining probable cause for claims
In all these scenarios, you want to play it safe. And your safety net comes in the form of a written survey report, where the marine insurance surveyor lays out the outcome of their work.
A survey report focuses on key facts:
- A summary of the scope of the survey
- A detailed description of the vessel
- An outline of any deficiencies
Recommendations to remediate issues
- Estimated current market value
- Plus any data that are deemed relevant, based on the type of survey requested.
Which types of surveys will a marine insurance surveyor conduct on your behalf?
You’re likely to hire a marine insurance surveyor mainly for two types of inspections:
Condition and valuation (C&V) insurance survey
When you’re taking on a new client for insurance, you need to know whether their vessel is an acceptable risk. Your marine insurance surveyor helps you figure it out by conducting what is called a “structural survey”.
This inspection aims to verify the structural integrity and seaworthiness of the boat for its intended use.
That’s why it will focus on the construction and condition of the hull and mayor systems, such as fuel, navigation equipment, rigging, and the like.
The resulting survey report will reflect:
- The overall condition of the craft
- Its current market value
- The cost to rebuild it
When your assured’s vessel suffers damage as a result of an accident, a professional survey is crucial to find out:
- The nature of damage
- The cause of damage
- The extent of damage
- The cost of repairs
The marine insurance surveyor’s report will help you determine liability and quantum.
Added to that, their unbiased report is just what you need when you’re trying to figure out whether:
The claim is genuine
Fraudulent claims do happen. Not only that, but it may well be that the damage claimed for is too big for a small incident.
A marine insurance surveyor will help you establish whether all the damage was caused by the actual incident.
The estimates are reasonable
You may receive disproportionate quotations from different boat yards for the same repair work. Your surveyor will clarify the details of the job at hand and provide you with a rigorous estimate.
What types of vessels will marine insurance surveyor inspect?
You name it!
- Oil rigs
- Cargo vessels
- Cruise ships
- Yachts and pleasure craft
Having said that, most marine insurance surveyors specialise in a specific type of boat. For example, it’s highly unlikely that a professional who surveys warships will become involved in surveying oil rigs.
Taking into account the level of expertise required to conduct a thorough professional inspection, it’s only natural that you wonder…
How to choose the right marine insurance surveyor?
Now, that’s a tricky question. The industry is to this day largely unregulated, as surveyors aren’t required to be licensed or qualified.
Certification courses are conducted by organizations such as Lloyd’s Register or the Maritime Training Academy and Det Norske Veritas (DNV). These programmes provide those intending to become surveyors with key knowledge about shipbuilding and marine surveying.
That’s a good starting point. However, becoming a marine insurance surveyor won’t happen overnight.
It takes extensive training and years of experience in the marine sector to gain the necessary skills.
So, if you need a marine insurance surveyor, here are some tips:
- Narrow down your search by looking for professionals who have experience in a specific type of survey
- Look for an inspector who has specialised in a particular sort of vessel
- Ask around to find out more about a surveyor’s background and reputation
- Take into account that having a survey conducted by the wrong partner could have dire consequences.
Which risks will you face if your marine insurance surveyor isn’t up to the task?
Let’s say your marine insurance surveyor:
- Provides an inaccurate description of a vessel, its condition or cargo
- Sends a report to a wrong party
- Provides incomplete reporting
- Fails to complete a survey on time
You may face dire consequences, such as losing a claim or providing insurance for a vessel that isn’t seaworthy. It is a fact: an oversight or mistake in their investigation could cost you a pretty penny.
Remember that a surveyor’s ultimate role is to help you solve a tricky situation or to recoup your losses and minimise financial damage in the face of a claim.
So, the next time you need a marine insurance surveyor, play it safe and rely on our network of experienced partners around the globe. Find out more about our survey coordination services.