230 vessels affected
Two months after the passage of the two powerful hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean and much of Florida, Pantaenius Insurance carried out a first partial assessment of the damage. The most affected areas are the islands of St. Martin, Tortola and Virgin Gorda, explains Holger Flindt, head of Pantaenius' claims department. "We are currently working on the basis of an estimate that 230 boats covered by the Pantaenius group have been affected. In some cases, we may receive new complaints, but by looking at our databases, we can assume that the total number will not change significantly."
An emergency office set up on a catamaran
Just a few days after Hurricane Irma hit, Pantaenius sent several teams, made up of marine claims department employees and local experts, to the affected islands. The insurance company has chartered a catamaran to serve as a mobile claims office and help find damaged boats, says Holger Flindt. "Identifying the location of each boat has proved to be a particularly difficult challenge for local teams, despite the detailed information provided by the owners. The strength of hurricanes, extreme wind speeds and tidal waves have displaced catamarans weighing up to 30 tonnes into bays or other parts of the islands."
Eico Ehrsam, expert for Pantaenius, had never seen such a high level of damage. "The 2017 hurricane season, particularly Irma and Maria, probably caused the largest accumulation of damage ever seen to pleasure craft."
Martin Baum, Managing Director of the Pantaenius Yacht Group, agrees:"Irma and Maria presented us with one of the biggest logistical challenges Pantaenius has ever faced in the field of claims settlement. Nevertheless, the fact that we sent our teams on site quickly gave us a complete overview of the damage suffered by the boats insured by the group, despite the unfavourable conditions."
Compensation has begun
Holger Flindt pointed out that the compensation work has already begun. "Some losses, which are clearly total losses, have already been settled. The progress of boat repairs depends on the development of infrastructure on the islands in the coming weeks."