COVID-19 – time to rethink marine surveys?

By Capt. Henrik Uth, CEO Survey Association of 1914 Ltd., IUMI Professional Partner,

There is much talk these days about how so many business models that have been successful until now, need to be rethought and reshaped to ensure survival post COVID-19, and to be characterised with more mobility and flexibility. 

Marine surveying, be it cargo or H&M and whether it is condition - or damage surveys - has relied on the physical attendance of professional marine surveyors on site for centuries.

COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated that travel cannot be taken for granted anymore, revealing a pain-point to the industry, in that surveyors or service engineers cannot attend ships, despite the ships still trading and cargo still moving.

Within marine insurance, surveys are varied and include; pre-risk, renewal, loss prevention or condition surveys. The main purpose being for the underwriter to have a view of the risk at hand, to ascertain whether or not to underwrite the risk, which warranties should be put in front of the owner or how to price the risk.

But when the underwriter cannot send a surveyor, because of global travel restrictions or merely that the vessel is at sea for an extended period of time and will not call at a port in the coming months, how does the underwriter gain insight into the risk at hand?

Motor and personal insurance have for a number of years implemented a remote/self-survey process, but marine has, due to the seemingly complex nature of the risk, remained loyal to the traditional ways of surveying.

Embracing technology and allowing surveys to be conducted remotely by the people on-scene, has clear benefits in that the survey can be performed with minimal disruption to the operation. It can ideally be performed offline as well as online, it is cost effective as the surveyor needs to spend significantly less time on the case the Chief Engineer or someone else responsible will provide the data. It is environmentally friendly due to the reduced travel requirements and it gives the underwriter a faster decision-making ability.

The current outlook suggests that the industry is facing several months of travel restrictions, but the vessels will continue to trade and cargo is moving...

The full article is available HERE.