Marine surveyors perform inspections of all types of marine vessels for purposes of evaluating compliance with regulations, insurance claim resolution and eligibility for insurance and providing information to a purchaser before a sale.
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Any type of vessel such as the following can be subject to a marine survey:
- Oil rigs
- Cargo vessels
- Cruise ships
- Yachts and pleasure craft
Marine surveyors may also inspect other marine property, including cargo and engines, as well as canals, dry docks and loading docks.
In general, marine surveyors may be hired to perform two kinds of surveys.
- A damage survey is performed to determine the nature, cause and extent of a marine loss for insurance purposes. In these cases, a ship owner, cargo owner or insurance company hires the marine surveyor. The surveyor must evaluate the vessel, report on its condition and recommend repairs.
- A condition and valuation survey is performed in order to determine the condition and value of a vessel for insurance eligibility purposes and for lenders or potential buyers before a purchase.
Most marine surveyors specialize in certain types of vessels. One who surveys warships is not likely to be involved in surveying personal yachts or other pleasure craft.
Marine surveyors are held in high regard in the marine industry because of the important role they play for vessel owners. A cruise line that wants to determine the seaworthiness of a new cruise ship needs a marine surveyor with excellent credentials and whose professional judgment and assessment can be trusted before sending the new ship out to sea.
A marine surveyor’s job is complex and requires training, skill and expertise. Your clients — a cruise line, an oil company or a celebrity purchasing a yacht — expect your services to be accurate and reliable.
If an insurance company hires you to evaluate vessel damage after an accident or to certify that a particular vessel is seaworthy, it is your job to perform your duties with competence and skill so that a claim can be validated or a transaction can be completed.
Oversights, mistakes and omissions, such as the following, can have serious consequences for everyone involved:
- Providing an erroneous description of a vessel
- Providing an erroneous description of a vessel’s condition
- Providing an erroneous description of cargo
- Sending confidential report findings to the wrong entity
- Providing incomplete reporting
- Failing to complete a report as promised, or on time
You can be sued if your failure causes a financial loss for a client. In order to protect your marine surveying business, you need professional liability insurance, or errors and omissions insurance.
Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance protects professionals, their partners, their employees, and the partnership or corporation from damages caused by failures in professional services. It pays for your legal defense as well as court costs and any settlements or judgments that you must pay if you are sued.
Because of the wide variation in the types of businesses or professions that need E&O coverage, there is neither standard policy language nor a one-size-fits-all solution. Every type of professional or professional services firm has unique exposures, and their E&O policies should reflect that.
You should work closely with your independent insurance agent to make sure your policy fits your needs and addresses the unique exposures you face.
A Note About Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Marine Surveyors
Your employees may work in dangerous conditions on land and in or near bodies of water. Marine surveyors need workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees from the cost of work-related injuries and illnesses.
Some of your employees may be subject to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This is a federal workers’ compensation act that applies in very specific circumstances for certain types of maritime employees.
Like workers’ compensation insurance, it covers the cost of medical care for employees who are injured or disabled while working on the navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining areas used in loading, unloading, repairing or building a vessel.
Whether or not your employees are covered by this Act — rather than standard workers’ compensation insurance offered in your state — relies upon two relatively complex “tests” based on the nature of the employees' work and the location of the work. You may have certain employees who are covered under the Act and others who are not.
Your independent insurance agent can add Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act coverage to your workers’ compensation policy to ensure that you have the right coverage if it applies to any of your employees.
Other Insurance Coverage for Marine Surveyors
You likely need a variety of additional business insurance policies to protect your marine surveying firm. Your agent can help you determine if you need the following types of coverage:
- Commercial general liability insurance
- Commercial property insurance
- Business interruption coverage
- Inland marine coverage
- Commercial auto insurance
- Employment practices liability insurance
- Cyber liability insurance
- Employee theft and crime coverage
- Commercial umbrella insurance
You may also need special coverage or endorsements designed specifically for maritime businesses. An independent insurance agent can help you find all of the coverage you need.
Find Marine Surveyors Insurance Tailored to Your Needs
Marine surveying is a complex, unique business that requires highly skilled and competent professionals to provide services to your clients. You need the advice and counsel of an independent insurance agent who has experience working in your industry.
Your agent can work with numerous highly rated insurance companies that specialize in writing insurance for marine industries.
Do not trust your business to one-size-fits-all coverage. Or you may be vulnerable to devastating exposures. You need specialized insurance coverage that is tailored to your needs and the help of an adviser who is in your corner for the long term.
Find a local independent agent today.