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  • Writer's pictureRobin Howard

13th June - DEFRA, Insurance Underwriters, Brokers and Sanity... A happy day...

Blogging is a very strange thing. I have always enjoyed writing. Stories when at school. Essays when cruising my "o" levels. And then there was no need to write, until I saw the advantages of blogging for selling fishing services. My very first blog was way back in 2003, when uploading an image from a scanned print was a painful experience, and the results very scrappy. Everything has moved on a lot since then,.

Including the power of blog. My fun is popular, and I think many folk follow the catch reports, as part of their daily schedule. Far more than actually climb aboard looking at the statistics. And all of this interest, has really created a beautifully warm huggy baloon around me and my efforts to keep on rolling. So many well wishes. So many offers of help, to try this broker or that broker.

And interestingly, as I was driving back from yet another fruitless session hunting bass on the river, (I think they remain outside stuffing themselves on spider crabs) I received a phone reacall. Just as I was at my lowest ebb regarding the insurance situation. The pure absurdity of it, clearly a cock up after all the effort other government departments had invested with the Professional Boatmans association to work out a strategy to allow the bigger boats to get back in the game. And worse, perfect weather racing towards us, after the windiest winter yet. "Hi, Is that Robin" my 2nd hand android based car entertainment system crackled at me...Expecting yet another inquiry I couldnt satisfy, I replied in my best false happy voice. "yes, how can I help you"...

"Maybe I can help you?". Remember back at the start of the blog, way back in 2017. The arrival of BIF1 and her entry into the marina. And the very nice man from TETRADOCK who created our means of avoiding nasty chemicals on our hull? Well, everything for the reason. We have a very nice working relationship, and he has been in the boating industry a long time. With lots of contacts. When he read of my plight, he contacted Peter, the insurance broker. (i am being deliberately sketchy, as until this deal is done, I dont want him being too busy...).

"My names is Peter, Im a marine insurance broker"... I could go on... However, this is a blog, not a book, and I am happiest banging on about fishes being caught rather than how pure stubbornness mixed with a large dose of sanity in the form of Peter the insurance broker, achieved what until moments prior I thought impossible. BIF1 will be sailing again. How?

So.. firstly, Peter explained to me the legal aspects of an insurance policy. It is a contract between two parties, and legally binding. KGM are legally obligated to honour their side of the contract, unless I break any of my terms, which I am not doing.

Secondly, the DEFRA publication on the web site was born of a Question and answer session. It was likely never intended for publication. And it was definitely aimed at Inland waterways, and not sea going vessels. Otherwise, once again, the wind farm workers would not get to work, for one example. That is usually via a skippered charter.

KGM are right to make their statement about the insured following government guidance, but do not have the right to hold back cover. The actual government guidance all skippered charters MUST follow, is the guidance on social distancing.

The big difference about Peter the insurance broker, compared to the representatives of Euromarine, really shone through in this conversation. Peter clearly had knowledge and, even better, has access at director level to the underwriters. He is confident that once it has been explained to KMG, there will be a change in stance. Meanwhile, he has assured me I am ok to continue working, confident my insurance policy is active under the terms and conditions of the policy. For his troubles, on Monday he now manages BIF1 (and future projects) insurance requirements. And I am so thankful, that it is now, business as usual. Once I am signed up, I will publish full details of my new broker, if anyone else is having lacklustre responses from theirs...

Meanwhile, through all this, BIF1 has had her 100 hour service. Some brand new comms equipment installed. A full refresh of all the safety equipment. And she is bursting to go. Plaice feeding like crazy things, and only a matter of time before the spiders retreat out of the shallows, and leave the bass hunting fishes once more. Some spaces available. 07970 112774 to get on board.

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