Welcome to the Dockwalk.com Forum

 

In order to post a comment in one of the forum topics, you must log in or sign up. Your display name will appear next to your posts unless you check the Post Anonymously box. When writing a post, please follow our forum guidelines. If you come across a post that you would like us to review, use the Report Post button. Please note the opinions shared in the forums do not necessarily reflect the views of Dockwalk.


RSS Feed Print
Not hiring Americans for "Insurance" reasons
chopper
Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 12:05 AM
Joined: 22/10/2011
Posts: 3


Hi, I am an American free-lance stew/massage therapist, who is really shore based now, unless a friend calls me in for a job. Recently, I was offered a 3 months stint on a yacht that I had worked on previously about 3 years ago.. The engineer who works onboard is a good friend and told me about the opening. he knows me and my work, so recommended me for the job. I was excited to apply, but was told they wouldn't be able to hire me, due to insurance reasons. This is even though the owner, who I knew from before, green-lighted me. They said that foreign vessels don't hire Americans anymore, due to insurance companies forbidding it.. is that true? If so, under what circumstances? I know that we Americans have a bad reputation amongst foreign crew on foreign yachts, as being lazy complainers who bitch too much about long hour. And also for being litigious (not to mention our annoying accents) But has it actually come to the point that insurance companies are forbidding us from being hired? I only wanted a nice short 3 months stint, and cant understand why, if the boss was happy to have me onboard, I couldn't take the position. I just want to know if it was actually the case, and they were telling me the truth, or just didn't want to tell me no because they simply didn't want me. Either way, I find it depressing that Americans have gotten such a bad reputation. I am a hard worker, and was sad to hear I wasn't employable simply because of my citizenship... any thoughts?
junior
Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 7:33 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Sounds about right. Its beer drinking season and last week a few senior captains rallied around the pub for a gab and stated that they no longer hire American crew. Americans have become non competitive as yacht crew. Grab a placard, cruise up to Occupy Wall Street and demand legal reforms. Bankers and lawyers have used the present system to their benift and your loss.
MatrixLloyd.com
Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 1:38 PM
Joined: 19/05/2008
Posts: 52


Hi Chopper. Thanks for your question. The main reason for avoiding hiring US crewmembers - where possible - is both the culture of litigation and extremely high court awards. That's just the way it is.
Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 3:01 PM
I just drove to Florida and my Insurance agent at home in Canada made me add an additional 4 million in liability, not to mention how difficult and expensive it was to get medical coverage if you are planning on a visiting the US. Generally two plans, one price for US, one price for the rest of the World if that tells you anything.
An Owner
Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 4:28 PM
Joined: 15/01/2009
Posts: 53


 You already know the answer to your questions. If the owner gave his blessing then there is one reason and one reason only that you didn't get the job. The Captain didn't want you.
 It doesn't cost me one nickel more to cover insurance costs based on where my crew is from, however, I have yet to hire anyone from Mogadishu.
 As far as being litigious, that is another unfounded excuse. My liability insurance is what it is. It doesn't matter where members of my crew are from. It doesn't matter if an Australian sues me or an American. Litigation is covered to the same limit no matter what.
 As for the rest of the so called reasons, never once have I ever seen any evidence of American crew members being anything other than hard working, meticulous individuals. If anything, a little more so than several other nationalities who have more laid back and easy going cultures that take naps in the middle of the day.
 The United States is a very large and very wealthy nation by any standard. This alone breeds contempt and great jealousy. You will know there is some truth in what excuses that they use to slander Americans just as soon as they stop flooding the borders in every direction to go there. Until then just remember, if you smell a rat, there is probably one right in front of you and in this case that rat is the Captain that wouldn't hire you based on your Nationality without a legitimate reason.  

rodsteel
Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 6:03 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


An Owner wrote:
... It doesn't cost me one nickel more to cover insurance costs based on where my crew is from...  


According to this comparison web site, there does seem to be a US-related premium (at least for health insurance).

 

http://www.zinternationalinsurance.com/marine-yacht-crew/

 

However, it is not based on the nationality of the insured but is based on the location of the coverage. For a husband/wife team in their low 30's, the premium for world-wide, US-inclusive coverage ranges from 30% to 200% depending on the plan (independent of nationality). In most cases, for basic coverage, the extra cost seems to be less than $2000 per year per couple ($700 for single male).

 

Cheers,

 

Rod


junior
Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 7:14 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Whenever I operate in the US I am constatly faced with this document stating " PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT MOST PERSONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE DOES NOT INCLUDE LIABILITY FOR CONTRACTURAL IDEMNIFICATION. ACCORDINGLY IT IS URGENT THAT YOU AVOID INDEMNIFICATION BY PROVIDING WAIVERS FROM ALL MEMBERS OF YOUR CREW. YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO CONSIDER OBTAINING WAIVERS RUNNING TO YOU INDIVIDUALLY ? What flag are you flying An Owner ? and in what geaography do you operate ? If its American and you are operating in the US then you have found a way to beat the system so give John Cassedy a call....................... John Cassedy Urges Congress To Stem Tide Of Soaring Liability Awards To Seamen Calling upon Congress to enact a "good and fair" Seamen's Compensation Act in 1979 to help stem the tide of soaring liability awards to seamen, John H. Cassedy, president of the Shipowners Claims Bureau and secretary of the American Club (The American Steamship Owners Mutual Protection & Indemnity Association), urged shipowners to support such legislation as a "step toward putting American ships on a competitive basis with the foreign-flag owner." Speaking before the 52nd Annual Propeller Club National Convention in Honolulu, Mr. Cassedy explained that because most foreignflag owners are covered by national compensation laws that protect seamen in their employ in case of injury or death, liability crew claims represent only about 11 percent of their total Protection and Indemnity insurance premiums. This puts U.S. shipowners at a competitive disadvantage because P&I insurance is one of the most expensive items in their insurance budgets, since crew claims represent close to 70 percent of their total P&I premiums. Thanks to the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, better known as the Jones Act, which gives the American seaman—as a ward of the court—the right to sue his employer directly if his injury is the result of unseaworthiness or negligence on the part of the shipowner, insurance costs are spiraling upward as juries award huge settlements to claimants, Mr. Cassedy said. In emphasizing the need for Congress to pass a Seamen's Compensation Act next year, Mr. Cassedy warned that U.S. shipowners will continue to find it difficult to compete with foreign flags in terms of crew injury claims because, "I cannot see our courts reversing themselves (on) shipowners' liability, and I cannot see our juries cutting back on the amounts awarded seamen today." Mr. Cassedy agreed that there was a definite need for a Merchant Marine Act in the 1920s to protect seamen against serious social abuses, but said that today the American seaman is one of the highest paid in the world, with "as good, if not better, employment conditions than most Americans." Even so, the obsolescent legislation is still in effect. As an example, he cited the case of a seaman who broke his leg jumping from the window of a house of ill repute. Although he was miles from his ship, as a ward of the court he sued the shipowner directly for maintenance— and the court found in his favor on the grounds that he was injured "while in the service of the ship." Insisting that the owner of an Americanflag vessel "has the cards stacked against him" regarding liability for crew injury claims, Mr. Cassedy told of a seaman who slipped on the deck of an American-flag ship and injured his back. His attorney sued the shipowner for $255,000 on the grounds of unseaworthiness. He was willing, according to Mr. Cassedy, to settle out of court for $60,000 but the shipowner's side felt that at best the case had a settlement value of $25,000. The case went to court, and five years after the accident the jury handed down a verdict awarding the seaman $205, 494. Thus, "The American-flag owner thinks long and hard before he decides to step on the scales of American justice," Mr. Cassedy said. Continuing, Mr. Cassedy also described how another seaman slipped on a dock near to his ship. To break his fall, he instinctively put up his hand and it hit a moving electrical exhaust fan, immediately amputating the thumb and two fingers of his hand. He sued the ship for $5,000,000, and after two years the case was settled for $600,000. The shipowner's lawyers called it a "bargain" because if the case had gone to court, the probability was that the jury, said Mr. Cassedy, would award him between $800,000 and $950,000. Mr. Cassedy emphasized that a fair compensation act would protect all seamen, regardless of who is at fault, and further noted that the seaman would benefit by receiving payment almost at once instead of waiting years, and that he would be keeping 100 percent of the award by not sharing it with a lawyer. In appealing to Congress to act upon national compensation, Mr. Cassedy also urged the merchant marine to choose a road toward "survival, growth and true competitiveness" by helping to eliminate the seaman's right, as,a ward of the court, to sue his employer.
An Owner
Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 8:23 PM
Joined: 15/01/2009
Posts: 53


rodsteel wrote:
An Owner wrote:
... It doesn't cost me one nickel more to cover insurance costs based on where my crew is from...  


According to this comparison web site, there does seem to be a US-related premium (at least for health insurance).

 

http://www.zinternationalinsurance.com/marine-yacht-crew/

 

However, it is not based on the nationality of the insured but is based on the location of the coverage. For a husband/wife team in their low 30's, the premium for world-wide, US-inclusive coverage ranges from 30% to 200% depending on the plan (independent of nationality). In most cases, for basic coverage, the extra cost seems to be less than $2000 per year per couple ($700 for single male).

 


Exactly Rod, and Nationality of the insured was the excuse that the OP was given which is a baseless, bordering on fraudulent reason not to hire someone as any difference is negligible at best. In my case it literally doesn't cost more as with the exception of Collections, Fine Art, Jewelry and Silver, we are self insured and administered by one of those evil big banks that Junior and his anarchist friends are so deathly terrified of. Most of the employers/owners that I associate with do this due to the obvious flexibility and long term savings, so I cannot testify to the extent of non US insurance price gouging.
 To the best of my knowledge and completely off hand, the only way an appreciable adjustment to our Risk Assessment and a subsequent increase in funding would become necessary is if we decided to operate in or travel through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Again, my only point is/was, the reason that the OP was given as to why they were not hired is a dishonest and unfounded myth, whether that be through ignorance or blatant bigotry on the part of the Captain.  


PLammens
Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 11:11 PM
Joined: 03/05/2011
Posts: 6


I have been trolling for quite some time on the « Dockwalk » forums and I usually enjoy the show while refraining from intervening. But I feel that the recurrent topic of real or perceived “anti-American discrimination” calls for some clarification. So here a my two cents, in the currency of your choice. There is indeed some apprehension / concern amongst owners and captains when recruiting an American citizen to work on a non-US based vessel, belonging to a non-US owner and run by a non-US Captain. While the –small- increase in insurance premiums is often cited, the root causes of this reluctance should be searched elsewhere, some factual and some being “cultural”. The US is not only a nation prone to litigation, but, as indicated by MatrixLloyd in an earlier post, the awards are often very significant. While the issue of national Court competence is theoretically part of your work contract, I know of instances where US crew, unhappy with the decisions of foreign courts, have followed-up with a lawsuit in the US, within their jurisdiction of residency, generally claiming “new elements”. For example, while working on a Malta flagged vessel, you break your arm in Mallorca. In case of a dispute as to compensation, the issue will be settled by a Maltese court. Now, a few months later, back in the US, you “discover” that this relatively common injury leaves you “permanently disabled”, as attested by a friendly physician. You can then try to sue locally, dragging your previous owner into a US based lawsuit. This is not helped by the fact that American Courts tend to regard with disdain foreign judicial systems and deem their decision as inherently unfair to US citizens. Why, as an owner, run the risk of getting entangled in such a process which, regardless of the outcome, will carry a heavy financial burden? Another consideration is the remarkable activism of the foreign-based US Consulates and Embassies. Should you get involved in a legally uncertain situation, the first advice you will often receive is to “flee” immediately back to the US. As the States are more than reluctant to extradite its own citizens except for the gravest of crimes, as an owner you might find yourself forced to “clean-up” for a crew member who has, for example accidently wronged a third-party through personal gross negligence… Now, on a more “cultural” note, some remarks by AnOwner speak volumes: Quote “If anything, a little more so than several other nationalities who have more laid back and easy going cultures that take naps in the middle of the day. The United States is a very large and very wealthy nation by any standard. This alone breeds contempt and great jealousy. You will know there is some truth in what excuses that they use to slander Americans just as soon as they stop flooding the borders in every direction to go.” Unquote I respectfully disagree with this vision of the world. The –remarkably large- non-US parts of the globe are not exclusively composed of lazy and jealous people, preying on the jobs and welfare of American citizens. But these types of comments reinforce some stereotypes and national prejudices. The nature of yachting is such that people from diverse horizons, faith, cultures, engaging in different lifestyles, must live together in close quarters and, preferably, in relative harmony. Not much room for “America First”, “Mission Accomplished” and “We are the Best”. As a French and Dutch bi-national, I know that each culture, each nation, tends to have it’s own idiosyncrasies… Understanding other cultures, learning other languages, discovering a little more of the world are the reasons why I have chosen to engage in the –relatively expensive- hobby of sailing. A Star Spangled Banner- waving crew member –or any other strongly national-minded individual- does not add to my experience. Ironically, dear Chopper, it’s precisely those Americans who dare / enjoy venturing beyond their borders, appreciate foreign cultures, love to discover new tastes and perfumes, take a keen interest in history, regard Creationism with the necessary scepticism and who feel neither fear nor contempt for all things foreign who are the first victims. Fortunately, there are many of you and an experienced Captain or Management Company will take into account more than your nationality. But as this is likely to involve a close look at your past career, your individual choices and your overall “foreign compatibility”, first jobs may be hard to come by. Oh ! And learn to speak a few foreign words! Proficiency is not the issue here. But fifty common words and twenty verbs will work miracles. Set yourself a daily goal of ten new words and do the maths ! (Fair enough, skip Dutch, as it is not precisely an acquired taste !) I hope that this ridiculously long first post will not have offended too many readers and that no-one choked on his/her freedom fries. Kind regards, P.
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2011 2:09 AM
It's a load BS, anyone stating it as law is misguided and lack the decency to be honest. It goes without much forethought, US medical premiums are higher than any others, it's because it's better health care. Can, Brit, Kiwi, Aus try getting a surgery before your next birthday. Thats the difference. I've Captained both foreign and American flagged vessels for over 20 years. The root decision falls with the captain not the insurance. Sadly, though there are American owners that made there millions on the US economy and refuse to hire American crew. These types can pack sand. American crew members, secure your own insurance, start an LLC, pay your taxes, be legit, and be yourself and do fine work. You will win in the long run.
ratpack
Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 9:01 AM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100


Chopper, listen to logic. It is not always the case but most people will tell you that their insurance does in fact exclude hiring americans. I have worked on such vessels and I have also worked on vessels where it is not an issue - although generally I find americans are more likely to be excluded. My experience with this is all based on exposure of the insurer - if it is likely that they pay out more, premiums will rise - quick defence of that, young drivers pay more than older drivers because they are a higher risk of causing the insurer to pay out money. Now, real life experience for me personally, my dive insurance excludes diving with americans or in american territories. That was my choice purely because to include the american element more than doubled the premium, so I opted to exclude. Now before anyone suggests I am anti americans - I am english, my girlfriend is american.
CaptErik
Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:25 AM
Joined: 09/09/2008
Posts: 64


It is unbelievable how many American Yacht owners fly a foreign flag and hire non US crew, while waving the patriotic republican BS flag. All to save what is arguably a small amount. They want all the benefits of being a US citizen but fight tooth and nail to skip out on the bill. What about the trickle down they always promise? What about the jobs sold overseas for building and manning these vessels? I agree completely they can pound sand. As others have said, I call this reason for not hiring BS, there are other issues.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 2:41 AM
Chopper,

I can say from a lot of experience that Americans are the least lazy workers in the industry. The only reason that people carry on with that generalization is because Americans themselves keep repeating it to get some kind of approval from their foreign counterparts. Everyone around you is proud to be from their home country, maybe you should too.

yachtbeaver
Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 4:04 AM
Joined: 02/06/2011
Posts: 3


I can fully understand why they could not hire an Americian.

My P&I insurance conditions of insurance clearly states 'EXCLUDING ALL CLAIMS FOR LIABILITIES FOR U.S. CREW" We have a gold plated policy, with a limit of liability of $500,000,000.00 ,

This is very common  


Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:17 AM
Anonymous wrote:
Chopper,

I can say from a lot of experience that Americans are the least lazy workers in the industry. The only reason that people carry on with that generalization is because Americans themselves keep repeating it to get some kind of approval from their foreign counterparts. Everyone around you is proud to be from their home country, maybe you should too.


Reality is we often make others look lazy and bad in front of the boss so they don't want us around.

 
 Average 1 out of 5