Monday, October 23, 2017

Injuries sustained in suicide attempt can be compensable under Longshore

A federal appeals court ruled a man who shot himself due to anguish over injuries suffered on the job is entitled to compensation for the injuries he sustained during his suicide attempt.

William Kealoha was a ship laborer for Hawaii-based Leeward Marine Inc. when he fell between 25 and 50 feet from a barge to a dry dock   He suffered blunt trauma to his head, chest and abdomen, along with a fractured rib and shoulder blade, and knee and back pain. 

2 years later he shot himself in the head, causing severe head injuries, in a suicide attempt that he claimed was a result of his fall and litigation over that claim. A psychiatrist who testified on his behalf said Mr. Kealoha suffered from major depressive disorder due to multiple traumas and chronic pain from the fall and stress from the litigation, which caused depression, anger and anxiety, and worsened his already poor impulse control.  Mr. Kealoha sought workers comp benefits for the injuries he sustained during his suicide attempt.

In an unpublished decision issued by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco., a three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled that the board correctly affirmed the administrative law judge’s decision to award benefits to Mr. Kealoha and denied the motion to review, saying recovery under the Longshore Act is appropriate.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Caribbean Vessel Insurance

Approximately 90% of the world’s Protection & Indemnity insurance premium is written by the P&I Mutuals, or “Clubs” as they are known and most of those have a common anniversary date of 20th February.   So, we are heading rapidly towards that date in 2017.

Whilst there is no requirement for their “sister” Hull policies to have the same effective date, many follow either with the same Feb 20th date or with March 1st, so the market is in full swing right now.

The scary part of this market is how just one change of a number in a Hull policy wording can create a huge divergence in the event of a claim.  Hull policy forms are cloaked in mysterious form names: “CL280", “CL284" or the notorious “CL289".  These titles mean little to most ship owners and even to most insurance agents (except for a few specialist commercial marine agents) and yet their differences can be enormous.  Take for example the term “F.P.A.”, a very common marine insurance abbreviation, meaning "Free of Particular Average".  That cleared it right up, didn’t it???
 "F.P.A." simply translated means that the only time the insurance company is going to pay a claim is in the event of a total vessel loss.  “Particular Average” means a partial loss; “Free of” means it is not covered! So, that $500,000 loss due to a fire on your $1,000,000 ship is not covered! Shock!! Gasp!!  Find out up-front, exactly what is or is not covered.  Often, a few extra dollars of premium (and sometimes no extra cost) will bring you a lot more coverage, just for the asking!

Sometimes a subtle but critical variance in the name of an insurance company can make a huge difference when you push on the policy with a claim.   More terrifying is how frequently we find that the shipowner or their broker/agent only find this out when the claim happens, particularly in the Caribbean market.

In our report “The Critical Flaws in Shipowners Insurance”, we highlight not just these two, but 5 other business ending flaws in shipowners coverage, particularly targeting the more “mature” vessel that trades either in the Caribbean or between the US and the Caribbean.

With the beginning of the opening of Cuba, this becomes even more important as trading opportunities become available there.

Just go to to download a free copy of this report.

Happy and Claim Free Sailing!