US Obamacare Impacts the Global Marine Industry
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, the recent healthcare plan in the United States, is affecting the international superyacht industry, according to yacht insurance expert Eva Maria Karlsson of Superyacht Insurance Group (SYIG).
Maria, who is president/broker at SYIG, said, “The biggest challenge presently is Obamacare. Interestingly enough, it’s actually affecting the international marine industry, in that we now have to cope with tighter guidelines regarding time spent in-and-out of the U.S. waters. Most underwriters require that the yachts spend at least six months outside the U.S. in a 12-month period. It doesn’t matter that the yacht is registered outside the U.S. and the crew are non-U.S.
“Some underwriters can’t even provide coverage for U.S. citizens, or they limit the amount of coverage they can offer U.S. citizens inside the U.S., for example coverage limit inside the U.S. with a maximum of $30,000 per policy period.”
This change in the U.S. healthcare system introduced in 2010, deemed to be the largest overhaul in the system for decades, aimed to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance, lowering the uninsured rate by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reducing the costs of healthcare for individuals and the government.
Now the superyacht and marine industries are finding increased insurance difficulties when the yachts do not leave the U.S. for extended periods of time.
Maria added, “I’m dealing with a challenging case presently concerning a large U.S. registered yacht with 10 U.S. citizen crew members. The yacht doesn’t leave the U.S. much, just incidental trips to the Bahamas and back.
“They don’t qualify for the international plans that are specifically designed for yacht crew, because they don’t spend six months per year outside the U.S. However, U.S. domestic insurance carriers are reluctant to offer group coverage to the crew since the crew members are from different states.”
SYIG has been providing insurance solutions for the yachting industry since 2002. The company offers crew insurance and yacht insurance (Hull, P&I) under one roof from their base in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.