Industry News & Tips

Maritime Workers compensation

January 23, 2012

Gene Horton

As my customers and friends know, maritime workers compensation has been an ongoing problem and I have posted several articles on this subject. These coverage’s, Jones Act and United States Longshore and Harbor Workers insurance has been a problem in particular for smaller businesses. The USL&H market is getting even tighter with minimum annual premiums coming in at up to ten thousand dollars. Other industrial countries are surprised when starting businesses in the United States. They have government funded programs. Because the benefits are much higher in these U.S. maritime coverage’s and the politics involved, it will be very hard to make any changes to these laws. There is also very little defense to a claim, no matter how frivolous or even fraudulent. Included with this article is the announcement that Chartis is exiting this market to put their money in more profitable areas. Recently there was a change that exempted repair workers on pleasure vessels over sixty five feet and eighteen net tons. This took several years of complaining by the industry to make the change. Small sub-contractors are faced with a particularly bad situation. Owner operated businesses where the owner is the only worker doing work are not exempt from the act and are faced with these very high minimum premiums. Often the requirement for this coverage is a “deal killer”. Some states like Florida and Washington have “assigned risk” pools. This gives some relief to businesses in these states but businesses doing business in more than one state have a problem because the scheme either is prevented from extending coverage or other states refuse to recognize and accept the scheme coverage. What is the solution? Affected businesses need to start complaining to their representatives in the U.S. congress and senate. I have written to Elijah Cummings and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz but neither showed any interest in the matter.


Thanks for your support,