Top 5 considerations for maritime security insurance

17 January 2012

As the maritime security industry continues to grow, lots of new start-up companies are entering the market. Coral Parfitt, a senior international insurance consultant at Bellwood Prestbury discusses what maritime security insurance you should put in place before you put operatives on board ships.

“We are a specialist in maritime security insurance. We now provide cover for numerous firms around the world. Some are divisions of big multinational security companies. Others are small start-ups, usually run by ex-military personnel, providing security advice and armed personnel to ship owners, freight and cargo companies.

Whatever the size of operation, when it comes to maritime security insurance, the considerations are generally the same. These are the top five considerations for most maritime security firms.”

1. Protecting your security personnel on board ship. Most companies feel a duty of care to the armed personnel they are putting on board vessels. Each operative needs specialist cover, which will be valid in high risk countries and in potential conflict or war zones. We provide a global accident insurance policy from Lloyd’s London that will take care of medical emergencies, evacuation and repatriation where necessary. It pays out in the event of disability or death and provides cover for things like flight delays too. In a fast growing market, where there’s real competition for the best people, offering operatives quality insurance can be a significant advantage.

2. Protecting the public and the vessel. Most maritime security contracts will demand that you carry insurance against injury or death to crew, passengers or members of the public sustained as a result of your activities. They may also expect you to be insured against any damage that may be done to the vessel or other property in a skirmish. We have various level of international liability insurance that can provide all of the protection you may need.

3. Protecting your business. If you provide strategic advice on how to defend a vessel, then you may find that you are liable if your advice fails to protect it. International professional indemnity insurance cover will make sure that your business can afford to pay any damages, and may indeed be required by any contract you are involved with.

4. Protecting your people on the ground. Your security operatives may spend a great deal of time on the ground waiting for an assignment. Some of the ports for joining and leaving ships can be relatively dangerous and transit overland has its own problems. Operatives are always susceptible to everyday expat risks like road traffic accidents, ordinary medical emergencies and theft of belongings or vital equipment. Bellwood Prestbury can provide business travel insurance and other specialist insurance including kidnap and ransom cover to fully protect directors, support staff and operatives in high risk countries.

5. Flexible policies that are quick to activate. In an industry where contracts are often temporary and there is often short notice of trips for security reasons, maritime insurance companies need flexible policies they can turn on as and when needed. We create framework agreements. Once in place clients can activate cover for as many operatives as they need almost instantly with a phone call or email. This means the firm only pays for cover when operatives are actually in service, not while they are in transit or waiting for an assignment.

“As an independent expert in maritime security insurance, we are always happy to help firms to assess the cover they need or review what they have in place. We normally find that we can improve the level of cover and reduce premiums.”

Coral Parfitt is a senior international insurance consultant with Bellwood Prestbury. You can call her direct on +44 (0) 1242 588 678 or email her via

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