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Marine insurance giant Pantaenius - shaking the Australian market

by John Curnow on 9 Jan 2013
At the beginning of November, 2012 we posed a question of Jamie MacPhail, Pantaenius Australia’s newly appointed Managing Director. Very simply it was, ‘Just who is Pantaenius?’ Since then, many things have occurred or changed in the marine world.

For Pantaenius, this has all been very positive. Australia’s newest marine insurance organisation, a division of one of the world’s largest marine insurance groups, have a distinctly unique product offering that is already delivering new clients, right around the country.

MacPhail explains ‘Our Australian launch has been very interesting. We are getting a lot more enquiry than I thought we were going to get, obviously through Sail-World and the online enquiry system, but also just word of mouth and people coming back to us through relationships.’

‘Looking at the Australian marine insurance scene, you get the impression that it may not be all as rosy out there as our competitors may have you believe.’

‘It is definitely going to be interesting to see where we end up’, said MacPhail.

Pantaenius Australia recently moved the headquarters of their operation to Martin ‘Tacka’ Thompson’s buzzing Ferguson’s Boatshed Marina in the Spit, in Northern Sydney.

Jamie said of it, ‘The move to The Spit has been a great thing for us, as it is far more active, with a greater number of people around. There are seven brokers in a 250-yard radius and customers down here all the time looking, inspecting, and testing. Even if the brokers don’t immediately recommend us, the reality is the customers see us whilst they are here and a lot of them are coming to us for a comparison on what the brokers are giving them off a competitor’s quote.’


‘One of our Australian marine insurance competitors has just withdrawn from insuring anything on a swing mooring, which we cover’, said MacPhail whilst talking of the changes in the marine insurance arena.

‘We are getting a much warmer reception from the brokers than we expected. They have realised that as a major global player, we have a lot to offer. It’s a dynamic market and we have come into the market at a very good time.’
‘It’s clear that we have two very important differentiating features to other marine insurers in this market.’

Those two elements are certainly getting a lot of attention from boat owners. The first is wear and tear and the second is real agreed value.

MacPhail went on to explain why they are so important to any boat owner. ‘Certainly the wear and tear clause is one that just about everybody has been focussing on. Take a powerboat environment for instance, where our wear and tear clause would insure somebody if a ball valve in a seacock failed and water flooded in to the boat, which then sank as a result.’

‘I think we could comfortably say that the majority of insurers in Australia would actually not pay out in that event.’
‘They would have the option of not paying out because wear and tear is specifically excluded in a most of the policies currently in existence’, said McPhail.



‘In these types of situations, I think you’d find that most of our competitors would claim that the failed item(s) weren’t properly serviced and maintained, so therefore we are not giving you a cheque, despite the fact that you had to get a crane and barge organised to lift the boat off the bottom and then take care of things like rebuilding your engines. All because you are not covered, due to wear and tear being specifically excluded in their policies.’

The second item is agreed value. ‘I have had so many people come to me since we first spoke and asked me to define what I believe agreed fixed value means. A large number have thought they have an agreed fixed value policy and we simply suggest that they check their policy. Nine times out of 10 they call back confirming that their policy is in fact a ‘Market Value’ policy’, said McPhail.

‘They all say that they believed the policy pay-out figure was the same as the insured value and that they thought it was definitely an agreed, fixed value policy. I can’t believe the amount of owners who believe that market value is going to give them a number that is close to, or the same as that which they have got on their policy.’
‘At Pantaenius, we only offer agreed fixed value’.

‘When someone comes along and asks us for a quote, they tell us what value they want to insure their boat for. If we accept that value and subsequently insure their boat for that amount, then that is what we will pay in the event of a total loss’, commented MacPhail.

‘With a competitor’s policy, you could find that you are going to be many tens of thousands of dollars short in the event of a total loss and even worse, all the time paying a premium based on the number that you have on your policy. You will get a market price from them, based on say the last three or four sales that have gone through at the time of the loss, and not be in a position to even complain about it.’

‘At Pantaenius, we just say that we will pay you the number written on your policy, without deduction and just as importantly, you’ll be paying a premium based on that number’, explained MacPhail.

As if these two main items were not enough of a selling point on their own, Pantaenius don’t kick you when you are down, either.

‘The other thing for us is of course our policies have zero deductibles. In the event of a total loss, we don’t ask you to drop your $5,000 in the front of us and we pay you the difference. We just pay you the figure written on the policy document, with no deductibles taken from it’, said Jamie.

So it would seem that you do not need to ask just who is Pantaenius. The new question about your marine insurance really does seem to be, ‘How well do you understand your insurance policy?’

As Jamie says, ‘To find out, simply start with, are the clauses clear? Are you sure you are covered for certain scenarios? What does your policy exclude?’

‘If you are unclear on what anything actually means, you should be contacting your broker or your insurance provider and ask them to define items for you and explain to you what the clauses mean, because we specifically include the ones they don’t want to talk about.’

In the end, asking yourself these new questions could well save you a lot of stress later on.

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