Burns & Wilcox Launches Online Recreational Marine Program

PRODUCT: Recreational Marine Program

COMPANY: ACE Recreational Marine Insurance

RATING: Standard & Poor’s AA- (Very Strong)

AVAILABILITY: Coverage is available through Burns & Wilcox-appointed independent agents and brokers.

FOCUS: Burns & Wilcox now offers agents and brokers online access to the ACE Recreational Marine Insurance Program—an online quoting system launched April 1 that allows the company to expand into personal marine coverage for smaller recreational watercraft.

Burns & Wilcox serves as the exclusive wholesaler offering the program and is striving to make the provision of marine coverage not only easier, but less intimidating for independent agents and brokers. “A lot of agents are not comfortable with marine underwriting and policy warranties,” says Bill Gatewood, personal lines leader at Burns & Wilcox. “We’re telling those agents, ‘We can be your boat department.’”

Gatewood says agents will find the platform exceptionally easy to use: “They can go online any time, enter a minimal amount of information and get a bindable quote instantly” in most cases. Personal marine accounts frequently purchase “really small policies and it’s very important that agents can handle these quotes in an efficient manner—they don’t want to be touching it multiple times,” Gatewood points out.

And rather than endorsing boats to a home policy or writing through a non-marine carrier, Gatewood explains that agents and brokers can now “work directly with marine specialists who understand this unique market and will apply their expertise in handling claims.”

The online service represents the latest move by the Burns & Wilcox Marine Center of Excellence in its mission to provide one-stop shopping for marine coverage. Although it’s available as part of a longstanding partnership between ACE and Burns & Wilcox, the company’s marine offerings are not limited to those accessible through ACE. “If it's outside of ACE's appetite, we have 19 other marine markets in our center,” Gatewood says. “We offer coverage for everything from a jet ski to a $200 million yacht.”

In addition to recreational watercraft, the marine center offers coverage for marinas, boat dealers, marine artisans and contractors, boat or marine product manufacturers, cargo, shipyards, stevedores, wharf and dock owners, waterborne contractor’s equipment, floating restaurants and charters and excursion boats.

UNDERWRITING: The ACE policy includes automatic coverage for operating non-owned (borrowed) boats and can name marinas as additional insureds at no additional cost. Marine environmental damage coverage is available up to the insured’s liability limit, along with $10,000 in coverage for fines and penalties. While onboard, coverage includes cell phones, computer hardware and software, sporting equipment and even sunglasses and eyeglasses. Pollution and fuel spill limits meet new Oil Pollution Act (OPA) statutory limits, and the policy will automatically increase the applicable OPA limit to match any higher statutory limits OPA may issue in the future.

MINIMUM PREMIUM: $100.

TARGET: Owners of personal watercrafts, mega yachts and pleasure and charter watercrafts. Local to worldwide navigation.

COVERAGE TERRITORY: All U.S. states except Florida.

CONTACT: Bill Gatewood, personal lines leader; Burns & Wilcox, 220 Kaufman Financial, 30833 Northwestern Highway, Farmington Hills, MI 48334; 248-932-9000.

Ronimarie Acord is an IA contributor.