Marine Insurance Policy Dispute (Denied Insurance Claim)

A marine insurance policy involves a contractual relationship between an insured (also called the assured or policy holder) who agrees to pay a premium, and insurer (also called a carrier, underwriter or assurer) who agrees to insure or indemnify the insured depending the coverage afforded under the policy of insurance or Club Rules. Having previously represented marine insurance companies and P&I Clubs for 19 years, the board certified maritime attorneys at the law firm of Brais Brais & Rusak are in a unique position to help yacht & boat owners whose insurance claims have been denied as “not being covered or excluded” under the policy. The attorneys at the law firm of Brais Brais & Rusak with offices in Miami, Florida, Boston, Massachusetts and Houston, Texas are here to help.

The experience of the attorneys at the law firm of Brais Brais & Rusak includes insurance matters and insurance disputes involving:

  • Vessel sinkings at dock and offshore;
  • Vessel damage from lightening, storms and collisions;
  • Denied boat insurance coverage and bad faith insurance claims;
  • Complex hull and machinery claims including first party disputes, defense of third party claims and prosecution of subrogated interests;
  • Marine salvage claims;

The law of marine insurance has never been codified in the United States. Rather, Courts interpreting marine insurance policies in the United States will look to federal maritime law and, in the absence of controlling federal admiralty law, will apply applicable state law consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Wilburn Boat Co. v. Fireman’s Fun Ins. Co.

A variety of issues will determine a Court’s ruling in an insured’s favor or not:

  • Is the marine insurance policy at issue an “All-Risk” or “Named Perils” type of policy?
  • Is the policy of insurance ambiguous and, in which case, it will generally be construed against the insurer in order to promote coverage?
  • Did the insured make a full disclosure in connection with negotiations for the coverage and disclose all facts which may materially have affected the underwriting of the risk? This is referred to as the insured’s “Uberrimae fidel” obligation.
  • Was the accidental omission or misrepresentation by an insured during procurement of insurance “material”?
  • A broker normally is considered to be the agent of the insured for most purposes and is not the agent of the insurer.
  • All risks policies are construed as insuring against all fortuitous losses irrespective of cause, unless the cause is specifically excluded; a loss is fortuitous unless it results from an inherent defect, ordinary wear and tear, or intentional misconduct on the part of an insured.

As can be seen from the above, marine insurance is a complex area of the law. The marine underwriters and their adjusters are well versed when it comes to pointing to a basis for denial of a claim. The simple fact is every denied claim increases the return to insurance companies on premiums paid and every insurance company is in the business of making money.

The attorneys at the law firm of Brais Brais & Rusak have the experience to protect your rights, the compassion to serve your needs, and the skill to obtain the compensation you deserve. To reach our lawyers you may click email the firm, call 1-800-499-0551 from within the U.S., Skype BraisLaw worldwide or click Contact Us to select and complete a form for a free evaluation of your case.

Related References:

Maritime Law Blog - Wrongful Denial of Marine Insurance Claim
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