US Obamacare affects international marine industry


Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the recent healthcare plan in the USA, is affecting the superyacht industry, according to yacht insurance expert Eva Maria Karlsson of Superyacht Insurance Group (SYIG).

Eva Maria, who is president/broker at SYIG commented, “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 US” waters.”

Most underwriters require that the yachts spend at least six months outside the US in a 12-month period. It doesn’t matter that the yacht is registered outside the US and the crew are non-US.

“Some underwriters can’t even provide coverage for US citizens, or they limit the amount of coverage they can offer US citizens inside the US, for example coverage limit inside the US with a maximum of $30,000 per policy period.”

This change in the US 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 USA for extended periods of time.

Eva Maria went on to state, “I’m dealing with a challenging “case” presently concerning a large US registered yacht with 10 US citizen crew members. The yacht doesn’t leave the US 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 US. However, US 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.