Marine Insurance Broker Supporting Whizz-Kidz Registered Charity

UK Marine Trade Insurance specialists Insurance Risk & Claims Management (IRCM) have announced support for Whizz-Kidz, the disabled children’s charity.  IRCM’s Specialist Risks Executive Mark Elcocks said “We are delighted to be able to support Whizz-Kidz during their 25th anniversary year.  We have pledged to donate £10 to the charity for every one of our Bowline Marine Trade Insurance policies placed in 2015”.

Whizz-Kidz works to transform the lives of disabled children in the UK by providing the vital equipment, support and life skills that enables them to become confident and independent young adults.  Whizz-Kidz estimates that there are some 70,000 disabled children and young people in the UK waiting for a wheelchair that fits their young lives.  A powered chair can cost several thousand pounds and Whizz-Kidz provides a range of manual, powered and sports wheelchairs to those in need.  For more information about supporting Whizz-Kidz contact Victoria Rowles at

Logo copy

6 Tips to Keep Your Marine Trades Insurance Valid

Buying insurance at a distance, as many small businesses do these days, means you may not always get the advice and guidance you need to ensure your Marine Trades Insurance programme truly meets your demands and needs.  Even when you enjoy the benefits of a face-to-face consultation some of the important terms and conditions of your protection could be lost amongst vast quantities of paper or pdf that comprise the minutiae of policy wordings, endorsements and schedules.  Looking at three of the common policy wordings available to marine traders reveals documents ranging from 72 pages to 116.  Add to this a swathe of additional pages of schedules and warranties, it’s not surprising that some traders are unaware of certain terms imposed on them by their insurers that could invalidate their cover if breached.  Here are 6 tips to help you ensure you do not inadvertently invalidate your Marine Trades Insurance:

Tip #1:  Find out what your policy warranties are.  A policy warranty is something that you must do in order to maintain your cover.  Breaching a policy warranty on a commercial insurance policy means your insurer can avoid paying a claim even if the warranty breach does not relate to the claim.  Typical warranties on a Marine Trader’s policy include limits relating to height work, work on or handling of vessels of a particular type or above a certain length or value.  They could also impose conditions relating to heat work or clearing trade waste or storing flammable liquids.  One policy wording we looked at included no less than 50 individual warranties.

You will often find the warranties listed on your schedule but sometimes you will only find the number or title of the warranty, not the full explanation of what you are required to do.  You may need to refer to your policy wording, which your provider should have sent you, to determine the scope of the warranty.

Tip #2:  Find out what your policy conditions are.  Where one policy has a warranty for something another will have a condition.  The effect of breaching a condition can have the same effect of a warranty breach – in the event of a claim you could find yourself with no cover.  So where one insurer may impose a warranty that states all doors and windows must be secured by a particular type of lock and simply indicate on your schedule that a security warranty applies, another will show no warranty but may have a condition within the main policy document that states the minimum security requirements of your premises.

Tip #3:  Ensure you fill in your proposal form correctly.  We’ve never met anyone who enjoys filling in forms and the first piece of bad news here is that some of the proposal forms for Marine Trades Insurance are huge – 32 pages for one insurer.  Your satisfactory completion of a proposal form may be a condition or warranty of your cover and will also provide the basis of the insurance.  This means it is essential that it is completed accurately.  For example, your insured activities will be as you have indicated on your proposal so if you have stated that you are a marina operator but omitted to mention that you also offer occasional canoe hire then you will have a problem if a claim arises from the undisclosed activity.  Make sure all values and estimates are as accurate as possible and disclose all information requested, including claims.

At the end of the proposal form there will probably be a declaration for you to sign which states that you have answered all questions accurately and truthfully and not withheld any material facts.  A material fact is any fact which a prudent insurer would deem material to the underwriting of your insurance.  In the real world such judgement is likely only to be exercised in the event of a claim so the onus is on you to ensure you have fully disclosed anything you think may be relevant to your insurers.

Tip #4:  Read your Statement of Fact carefully.  If you don’t have to complete a proposal form your insurer may issue a Statement of Fact.  This document outlines the basis on which your insurer has provided your cover and will have been constructed using information you have disclosed to your insurance provider.  There may be instances where assumptions have been made or estimates provided in the initial quotation process that need to be rectified.  It is essential that any inaccuracies are addressed as, in the paragraphs above, your insurance could be invalidated and this will more than likely occur when a claim is being made.   Typical errors occur where there are Yes/No questions on the statement such as “Do you work away from your premises?” or “Do you work with heat?”  If you haven’t been asked a specific question such as “Are there any CCJs against you” and somebody has assumed incorrectly that the answer is “No”, it’s up to you to notify your provider that this information is incorrect.

Tip #5:  Keep your insurance provider up to date.  The previous 4 tips are concerned with getting the basis of your insurance correct from the start of the period of insurance.  As your insurance year develops you may have opportunities to develop your business beyond the original agreed scope of cover.  For example, if you have told your insurers that you restrict work to vessels under 60ft or, say, £250,000 in value, but are offered a contract to work on a vessel in excess of these limits you must inform your insurer.  Similarly if you begin undertaking activities that are not listed in the business description on your insurance schedule, start taking on employees or sub-contractors or if your turnover or wage levels are going to be considerably higher than your original estimate you must discloses this information to your insurers to ensure your cover remains valid.  This list is by no means exclusive so, if in doubt, get in touch with your provider.

Tip #6 :  Get a free Marine Trades Insurance Health Check from IRCM.  Telephone us on 01902 796 793 or email .  We will look at your policy wording, endorsements, warranties and statement of fact (where applicable), review your schedule of cover with you and highlight any gaps or inconsistencies in your cover.

New Wharfingers’ Liability Insurance Facility

A new Liability product bundle for Wharfingers has been announced by specialist Marine Insurance brokers IRCM. In addition to insuring their legal liability, the product bundle offers further benefits to of Wharf Operators.

Mark Elcocks, Specialist Risks Executive with IRCM said “Wharfingers can boost their cover with Excess Protection. Basically it provides a pot of money which will cover the excess on their main liability policy”.  Liability excesses typically start at £500 but can be much higher.  Mark went on to say “Because a business has to pay its policy excess in the event of a claim, the excess protection serves to insure the business’ bottom line.  It could save a wharf operator up to £2,500 per year with annual premiums starting from only £69.96”.

Wharf operators can further protect their bottom line by opting for the Crime Extension on IRCM’s preferred Directors & Officers (D&O) Liability offering.  The extension provides protection for the business in the event of theft from employees (cover that is excluded on a standard property policy).  This cover has already benefitted businesses that have suffered sizeable losses due to thefts of money and stock by employees.  The D&O cover recommended by IRCM protects the assets of the business as well as the directors and offers additional benefits covering Employment Practices Liability and Pollution.

IRCM Announce New Marine Clubs Liability Covers

Marine Insurance specialists IRCM have announced the launch of new liability covers for marine-based clubs. Not only do the extensions provide vital cover that clubs, particularly those dealing with young persons and vulnerable adults, require but they also provide a seamless solution for rowing clubs, sailing clubs and watersports centres.

Mark Elcocks, IRCM’s Specialist Risks Executive said “Clubs have informed us that they are finding it difficult to obtain protection against liabilities arising from allegations of Abuse. As a broker whose key staff includes experienced rowers, sailors and water-skiers and marine club members, we understand the issues facing club officers and directors”.

Mark went on to say “Of equal importance for clubs is the addition of low-cost cover for Club Trustees and Officers as well as a Fidelity Guarantee option. The bonus for Club officials is that all Club cover – racing craft, support vessels and equipment as well as property and liabilities can now be insured under the umbrella of a single, leading Marine insurer”

IRCM has been involved with the full range of marine-based clubs and activities in one form or another for over 50 years. During this time there have been many changes, including increasingly complex club management and health & safety issues. IRCM have a team of experienced staff who are on hand to guide and assist new club officers and managers taking on the responsibility of managing club affairs. They offer a traditional face-to-face service and dedicated support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As specialist providers of Marine Insurance IRCM holds underwriting authorities with a number of major insurers that enables them to provide instant cover that is tailored to the precise needs of each individual club. Amongst the services and benefits IRCM offers its Marine club clients are:

  • Competitive premiums across our product range for marine-based clubs
  • Clubhouse & Property Insurance
  • Public & Products Liability including Member to Member cover & Abuse Cover
  • Employers Liability cover that includes all your volunteer workers
  • Club Officer & Trustee Liability Insurance
  • Security of cover at Lloyds of London

For an informal discussion about your Club’s insurance requirements, telephone Mark Elcocks on 01902 796 793 or email


IRCM Supporting Mary Stevens Hospice

IRCM have announced a deal supporting local charity The Mary Stevens Hospice.  The Marine Trades Insurance specialists are donating £10 to the charity for each policy they issue from their exclusive Bowline Marine Trades Insurance range.  IRCM’s Specialist Risks Manager, Mark Elcocks, said “It’s a privilege to be able to support an organisation that does such important work”.  The Hospice offers specialist care for those living with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses as well as dedicated support for their families and carers.  For further information about the work of the Hospice mouse over to

New No Claims Rebate for Marine Trades Announced

Specialist Marine Trade Insurance Broker IRCM has launched a No Claims Bonus rebate for their Bowline Marine Trade customers.  Qualifying businesses will receive a 5% discount at policy inception and the discount level will increase by 5% at each renewal up to a maximum of 25%.  Mark Elcocks, IRCM’s Specialist Risks Manager said “This rewards good business practice and loyalty by delivering real savings to our customers in the mid and long terms”

The new bonus-building facility compares favourably to other discount initiatives in the Marine Trade Market.  Other providers will typically allow a 5% annual discount in return for their clients locking in for 3 years.  In the event of somebody trying to walk away from one of these long term agreements the insurer will seek a “claw-back” of any discounts already applied during the agreement period.  Mark went on to say “There is no tie-in on Bowline Bonus in return for the no-claims discount, clients are free to walk away at any renewal if they wish and there is no claw-back”

The real difference between a traditional 5% annual discount with 3-year tie in and the Bowline Policy rebate can be seen in the table below.  A marine business with an annual premium of £5000 before tax will attract an annual 5% discount of £250 from their traditional long-term tie-in.  Over a 6-year period this adds up to a total discount of £1,500.  The same period on a Bowline policy offering the bonus-building no-claims rebate would net a marine trader £5,000 in total.


Marine   Business Paying Annual Premium of £5000 Before Tax

3-Year   Tie-In With 5% Annual Discount

Bowline   Bonus With Cumulative Discount

1st Year Discount 5%:    Premium £4750 1st Year Discount 5%:    Premium £4750
2nd Year Discount 5%:    Premium £4750 2nd Year Discount 10%:    Premium £4500
3rd Year Discount 5%:    Premium £4750 3rd Year Discount 15%:    Premium £4250
4th Year Discount 5%:    Premium £4750 4th Year Discount 20%:    Premium £4,000
5th Year Premium 5%:    Premium £4750 5th Year Premium 25%:    Premium £3750
6th Year Premium 5%:    Premium £4750 6th Year Premium 25%:    Premium £3750

Total   Premium Paid:  £28,500

Total   Premium Paid:  £25,000


End Point:  IRCM’s new Bowline Bonus facility delivers big discounts in the mid & long terms with no tie-in for qualifying marine businesses.  Telephone Mark Elcocks on 01902 796 793 or email  for further details on how IRCM can help your business.


Storage of Marine Flares & other Pyrotechnics

The question of how you should store marine flares can invite some excessive storage requirements from your insurers – demands for metal cabinets along with warning notices are commonplace.

The U.K has The Manufacturer and Storage of Explosive Regulations 2005 to comply with.   Briefly, this says that if you hold more than 5 kilograms of net explosive quantity you have to have a licence. A general guideline for the calculation of the net weight of explosive is considered to be ¼ of the weight of a marine flare itself.  This may mean, for example, that a small hand held flare pack may only contain as little as 45 grams of net explosive, although this can vary.

It should be noted that the licence registration exemption guidance notes issued by local authorities and fire brigades can be open to interpretation. It is wise therefore if you think you are over the limit seek advice from your local authority.

The guidance that we would give is if you buy in bulk to get better prices, you may need to consider getting a licence due to each authority’s different interpretations of the legislation.

Storage Protection:  Most chandlery shops may not require a licence.  The general guidance provided by manufacturers such as Pains Wessex (a leading manufacturer) to the retailer is that marine flares should be in locked glass cabinets or similar cupboard.  Subject to the net weight regulation this should be sufficient for your insurer. Manufacturers will usually supply their product in appropriate storage containers for transport and this should be sufficient for your own storage arrangements. It is known that Pains Wessex will supply dummy items for display purposes, so it can be worthwhile contacting them for more information.

The requirements of the regulation can cause misunderstandings. If you feel your insurers are making unreasonable requirements talk to one of the IRCM team for practical help 01902 796 793.

Marine Trades Public & Yachtyard Liability Insurance

With Indemnity Limit requirements rising IRCM are continuing to help Marine Sole-Traders get the cover they need at affordable rates

An increasing number of marinas are requestng visiting and resident Marine contractors and sub-contractors to have a minimum level of Public & Yachtyard Liability Insurance of £5,000,000.  Some local authorities and other public institutions are asking for even higher minimum levels of cover.

For Marine businesses in general and sole-traders in particular, topping up their cover just to be able to go to work can prove costly.  Some insurers charge high minimum rates whilst others may not even provide the higher levels to businesses if “heat work” is being conducted.

IRCM’s starting premium for Marine sole-traders requiring a £5,000,000 Public Liability limit is only £326.48 and that includes cover for “heat work”.  We can also provide you with cover up to £10,000,000 as we recently did for one sole-trader who was undertaking welding in a municipal harbour.

So if your current provider is unable to provide you with competitive cover outside their normal limits and you need a higher level of insurance to fulfill your contractual obligations, whether it be on a stand-alone or top-up basis, telephone IRCM on 01902 796 793 or email


New: Marine Equipment Insurance from only £265

Marine Surveyors, Marine Engineers as well as off-shore contractors and other marine professionals can now access specialist marine equipment cover through IRCM.

Individuals and businesses can choose from 3 tiers of protection for their marine equipment, tools, computers and associated IT equipment.  Kit will be covered in transit by land, sea and air and whilst in use, including onboard vessels or offshore installations.

Annual cover options available:

£6,000 Total Sum Insured:  £265 including tax

£10,000 Total Sum Insured:  £530 including tax

£20,000 Total Sum Insured:  £1060 including tax


The cover is ideal for a variety of marine-based specialists, particularly those whose current insurance programme only provides Liability Insurance or professionals with office policies that exclude specialist equipment whilst out of the office.

It would also suit Marine Trade businesses who currently have Marine Trade Insurance but who are unable to obtain cover for their tools and equipment whilst away from their premises for more than £5,000.

For further information contact Mark Elcocks on 01902 796 793 or email