Yacht Crew Health Insurance

ONBOARD talks to Laurent Previdente about the common questions that arise when discussing crew health insurance

Do policies include worldwide cover?

Not all crew insurance provides worldwide benefits. You need to check the area of coverage in your contract. If you plan to spend sometime in Caribbean or US waters, you need to ask your insurance carrier for the relevant extension. With WYCC, our insured are covered worldwide in case of accident or illness as the seafarers can move all around the world but the rate is based on the main area of location.

For all crew insurance, various areas of coverage or rates are applicable (Worldwide including USA/Canada, or Worldwide excluding USA Canada, Europe, ASEAN, etc) and based on the cost of local medical treatments. This is the reason why you need to declare your main area of location at the subscription of your contract or ask for an amendment during the period of coverage.

What is the extent of the repatriation cover?
In order to check the level of benefits and scope of your repatriation you need to carefully read your terms and conditions. Usually the benefits are as follow:

  • Evacuation from the boat to the nearest hospital in case of emergency
  • Repatriation to the country of domicile for the relevant period
  • Ticket for the return of the insured member or substitute
  • Flight ticket for a compassionate visit if the member is not fit to fly
  • Visit to a sick, hospitalised or in case of death of a dependent
  • Repatriation of the body in case of death
  • Funeral cost

The assistance centre will take care of the execution and organise the transport. It is really important to contact the dedicated service provider before organising any travel.

Am I covered when on vacation or on rotation?
It depends on your contract. If you have a Crew Welfare policy, you will probably not be covered during vacation or time off. These policies are travel insurance plans. The seafarer will not be covered if not registered as a permanent crew member. Most of these contracts do not provide benefits in your home country.

If you have a crew insurance and a private scheme, you should be covered during private life if you remain active on the policy. These benefits are negotiated by the shipowner/employer. The private scheme is a part of the retention tool in order to attract and retain employees. In that case you will be covered whatever the situation, vacation, on-leave or rotation. Some individual contracts are also available on a short-term basis (between two jobs) for essential care.

Are there individual and group based options?
Yes, group or individual contracts are available. For group contracts there are various options mainly due to the new regulations such as the MLC (Marine Labour Convention):

  • P&I with crew extension. Medical expenses, repatriation, death and disability after accident or temporary disability are covered in order to be MLC compliant (shipowner’s liability)
  • Crew Welfare or Travel Insurance. These types of contract will provide benefits to seafarers during on-duty period, mainly outside country of domicile. These contracts are not a real healthcare plan and are useful for emergency treatments or events linked to the job. No benefits for dental treatments, vision care or other check-ups
  • Crew Insurance or Private Scheme: These benefits can be subscribed by the shipowner or the individual member. They can provide coverage for check- ups, dental cares, vision cares, family members, etc.

Does nationality make a difference?
Indeed, some insurance companies refuse to provide benefits for certain nationalities, i.e. US citizens, due to the cost of medical treatments or legal expenses. In that case, your insurance company will apply a specific rate for group contracts.

For individual contracts, the insurance company is obliged to provide benefits through a local entity in order to be compliant with the national legislation.

Examples: if you are resident in Dubai, you need to be covered by a local insurance carrier in order to be compliant with the law Other legislations need to be considered such as the flag state main area of location (work or country of residence).

If the crew are considered as French residents, due to the main area of location (more than 6 months) or residence, you need to inform eight social security branches as defined by the national law. In that case, if the crew are not affiliated to state social security (French system “ENIM”, Flag State, or country with bi or multilateral convention with France) you need to provide a private scheme but not only for medical care but also for benefits as follow; employment injury, invalidity, sickness benefits, survivor benefits, family benefits “allocations familiales”, maternity: medical expenses + maternity leave and old age benefits including reversionary pension. Your insurance advisor will bring you a solution adapted to your situation.

Are pre-existing conditions covered?
Pre-existing conditions are usually not covered by insurance contracts. With WYCC Insurance, pre-existing conditions are automatically approved for group contracts. For individuals you need to contact your supplier to confirm any possible exclusions.

For more details Tel: +352 274 454
or visit www.wycc-insurance.com