Insurance firms agree to offer third party cover to small boat owners |14 March 2023
Insurance companies in the country have agreed in principle to offer third party minimum insurance cover to owners of small boats under 10 metres.
The decision was taken yesterday afternoon during a meeting held at State House between President Wavel Ramkalawan and the Insurer’s Association of Seychelles (IAS), including representatives of ministries and affiliated entities, to discuss concerns about the new S.I 4 of 2023 of the Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority (SMSA) act that was recently released, in which part of it makes it a mandatory requirement for all small vessels under 10 metres to be insured.
The meeting follows an outcry by the small boat owners, especially those doing boating for leisure, with regard to the cost of insurance.
Also present at the discussion were Vice-President Ahmed Afif; the Minister for Finance, National Planning and Trade, Naadir Hassan; the Minister for Transport, Antony Derjacques; the Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry, Devika Vidot; the Attorney General, Frank Ally; and some members of the National Assembly.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Vice-President Afif said that in general there was general agreement in some areas of the act which call on the authority to ensure that all vessels are insured, registered, identified, surveyed and inspected, including competency of skippers and which all amounts to a cost, “but part of the cost that seems to raise a lot more concern was the part about the cost of insurance.
“But what we have also discovered is that the insurance companies are more than willing to look at the real risk and therefore look at a reasonable cost,” Vice-President Afif said.
The vice-president noted that given that no technical meetings, apart from general discussions on the S.I 4 of 2023, have taken place between the Ministry of Transport, SMSA, the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) and the insurance companies namely, Sacos, H. Savy Insurance, Alliance Insurance and the Mauritius Union Assurance (MUA), one such meeting will be held shortly between the parties to finalise an insurance cost in relation to a more affordable and reasonable package for small vessel owners, among other technical requirement issues, that would answer to the people’s concerns.
The meeting will be followed by another with the boat owners for their inputs before the S.I 4 is published anew.
“I would urge maximum participation in that public meeting with the authorities and the insurance companies so that they can have all their questions answered, all the clarifications sought and responses given to them which are satisfactory, and following that we will then be happy to publish the regulation,” said Vice-President Afif who noted that registered fishermen in small fishing boats are already covered under an insurance scheme with the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).
He said that the benefit of the S.I 4 is to ensure safety at sea and also in the event of an accident the public involved is covered.
He added that boat owners can have their boats surveyed and inspected by SMSA at a lower cost if they want a reduction in cost fees.
For his part the chairman of IAS, Percy Quatre, said that while in an effort to reduce cost, the smaller vessels could opt for the proposed minimum third party insurance cover among various options which could include the possibility for higher premium to include fire and theft as example.
He added that the cost of premiums could also be dealt with on a case by case basis depending on the client’s history with the company.
Mr Quatre noted that the newly proposed insurance cover initiative is for small leisure boats only given that jet skis already have an insurance cadre in place where the owners will have to see to the different insurance companies for the types of insurance cover available.
He called on the boat owners to see the logic behind taking an insurance cover to formalise their assets and the people in their care and those not in their care.
Text & photo by Patrick Joubert