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From the Front Lines: Personal Marine

Looking toward future personal marine trends, the market "will continue to get harder," says Patrick Kudlich, independent agent, and it "will only continue to get harder as natural disasters increase in strength and number each year."
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FTFLPatrick Kudlich

Ocean Marine Insurance Agency, Inc.
Honolulu, Hawaii

How did you get started at your agency? 

I started my agency in January 1990. My family owned an insurance agency and I worked for other agencies before that. After being an employee at different agencies, I felt I had the experience and knowledge to start my own business.

Why did you get into personal marine insurance? 

My first introduction to marine insurance was working around my family’s agency that dealt in the marine business. During my time on a Grand Prix racing sailing yacht and traveling the world, I realized that the marine insurance world would be a good fit because I loved the ocean and boats.

Biggest industry changes?

Large rate increases by the carriers and loss of markets to use. Like most of the insurance industry, the rate increases are due to the catastrophes, both marine and non-marine related, over the past few years. The increase in hurricane damages have directly impacted the marine insurance industry and is probably the main cause of our loss of markets.

Biggest challenges?

Having insurance carriers stay in the industry of insuring personal yachts. In the past three years we have lost three carriers that decided to leave the industry outright. 

Future trends in personal marine insurance? 

The market will continue to get harder. Insureds can expect to see more underwriting requirements on new and renewal policies and will continue to see larger rate increases. With the increase in worldwide marine losses, the market has begun hardening and will only continue to get harder as natural disasters increase in strength and numbers each year. Due to years of a soft market, I think the carriers are catching up now.

Advice for a fellow agent?

Stay the course, be attentive to your clients and maintain great working relationships with your carriers.

Favorite success story? 

All our clients and carriers make our agency a success. We really try to find the right coverage for our clients and communicate with transparency to both our clients and carriers. We make the effort to develop strong relationships with our clients and underwriters, which helps us get an understanding of the risk from each point of view. I think it’s also helpful that, as a sailor myself, I’ve been in the boating community and can see first-hand what challenges boat owners have.

AnneMarie McPherson is IA news editor.