What to do in the event of an accident
At Velos we appreciate that the circumstances surrounding any casualty are stressful and upsetting.
If you have to make a claim, it is our objective to ensure that the service you receive from us is prompt, precise, sympathetic, and fair.
In most cases Velos acts in the capacity of an Underwriting Agent for the Underwriters noted on your Policy Schedule. Therefore with regards to your claim, we will be acting on behalf of your Underwriters. Should this not be the case we will notify you in writing following receipt of your completed claim form.
We have highlighted below some of the do’s and the don’ts surrounding a claim and the claims procedure. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list but only a rough guide to give you immediate assistance.
A marine insurance policy is based on the Marine Insurance Act 1906 and as such is different from a Motor, Household or Contents Insurance Policy and the claim procedure is also different. There are a number of unique terms and references which you will encounter during the course of your claim. We have tried to cover as many of them as possible in this section. Should you have any questions about your claim or it’s progress, or anything else relating to your insurance policy and/or claim, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our office hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5 30pm.
What are your responsibilities?
You are responsible for making arrangements for the recovery and repair of your vessel, for monitoring and ensuring that the repairs are satisfactory, and for paying the repair contractors. Only you, or a representative authorised by you, can give instructions for the repair work to commence. If there are delays, and the delays result in further damage, this escalation of the damage will not be covered by your insurance.
What we will do
Upon receipt of the completed Claim Form and the repair estimate we will either, instruct you to proceed with the works, or we will appoint a Marine Surveyor to attend. If we decide to appoint a Marine Surveyor to attend for the purpose of inspecting and reporting upon the damage and/or the incident, we will instruct the Surveyor to contact you so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
The role of the Surveyor will include advising you with regards to the salvage and towage of the vessel and also with regard to the First Aid works necessary to the vessel, but only in the event that you have reported the loss to us in sufficient time so as to allow the Surveyor to attend.
The Surveyor will make an assessment of the incident and determine the cause of the loss and damage and will list the damage/s and recommendations for repairs and will report to us. He will review the repair estimates and if they appear to be unreasonable he will discuss these with both you and the repairer. It is the Surveyor’s role to attempt to have the damage to the vessel repaired to the pre accident condition.
We will endeavour to keep you reasonably informed about the progress of your claim. When the Claim Form, the estimate/s and the Surveyors report, if applicable, have been reviewed, we will report the facts to the Underwriters, and we will then advise you of their advices and explain their reasoning to you.
When you are provided with an approval of an estimate, you may give instructions for repairs to proceed. Should further damage be found during the course of repairs, it is your responsibility to inform us and/or the Surveyor so that the Underwriters can be advised whether this further damage forms part of the loss.
When the repairs are have been completed to your satisfaction, you are responsible to accept the repairs, pay the repairer and to submit the receipted invoices to either us, or the Surveyor if applicable, for review. We will, subject to Underwriters agreement arrange to reimburse you in accordance with the policy terms and conditions, this may be subject to you completing a form of discharge.
Your insurance policy is a contract of indemnity. This means that your Underwriters are responsible for compensating you for the reasonable and legitimate costs of your loss, and to return you to a similar financial position to that which you were in prior to the casualty. The only way to fully establish the extent of your loss is for you to pay the costs in the first instance. The Underwriters have no obligation to make advance payments or payments on account to you and also no obligation to pay contractors directly. However, direct payments to repairers or suppliers may be considered on a Without Prejudice basis in certain circumstances.
As mentioned above, your insurance policy is only required to return you to a similar financial position to that which you were in prior to the casualty. There are certain circumstances, where replacement parts are used and the use of these parts may result in the overall value of the vessel being increased. In these circumstances it is deemed that you have benefited from the claim. In accordance with the terms and conditions of your policy, the Underwriters are allowed to deduct up to One Third of the cost of these replacement items in order to compensate for this increase in value, which is known as betterment.
Incidents involving Third Parties
If any Third Party makes or intimates that a claim will be made against you, you must not make any verbal or written admission of liability, also you must not offer to compensate any Third party. Any correspondence received from Third Parties must immediately be forwarded to us, unanswered, and we will deal with this on your behalf.
If you get into difficulty and salvage services are offered by another vessel, where practicable you should contact us for guidance before accepting any terms. In many cases this will not be possible and you must then act as if you were a prudent uninsured and in the best interest of yourself and/or your Underwriters. General guidance on this is difficult, but if you are offered a fixed price contract which appears to be reasonable you should accept it. However, you must be wary of accepting terms from Salvors that are simply presented to you in the form of their own written salvage agreement, you must not sign this type of agreement unless you are certain that you understand what it means. If in doubt leave the matter of remuneration to be settled at a later date preferably by mediation. Only sign a Lloyd’s Open Form Salvage Agreement if it is necessary and then only as a last resort.