by Morgan Wells
Cuba is still an exclusion by all American insurance companies, but this status may change in the coming months. Presently, American insurance companies cannot do business in or have bank accounts in Cuba. In addition, for yacht insurance providers, Cuba is a challenge due to a significant lack of modern infrastructure and claims resources such as communications, surveyors and marina repair facilities with proper services for yachts.
I am having regular correspondence with American yacht underwriters but there is no rush to insure yachts in Cuba. A US yacht underwriter recently wrote to me, “Conversations are ongoing, but we have not made any changes to our exclusion of Cuba at this time. We recognize that boat owners are able to obtain the proper permits, however there are still the challenges of what would happen in the event of a claim. There are limited facilities, the inability to trade in US dollars, etc.” Another US yacht underwriter writes, “Although the US is allowing trips to Cuba for certain reasons, the economic sanctions have not been lifted, so as an US company it is illegal for us to pay any Cuban salvor, surveyor, repair yard, etc. for losses to the insured yacht. For P&I (Protection & Indemnity / Legal Liability coverage), we would not be able to pay a Cuban attorney to defend the insured for liability claims within their jurisdiction (also I don’t believe a US attorney can legally represent us in Cuba), and we would not be able to pay any awards to Cuban nationals if the boat owner were found liable.”
There is still a lot that needs to be sorted out with regard to Cuba and US insurance regulations.
However, it is possible for us to obtain annual insurance policies that include the waters of Cuba from non-American companies such as various underwriters at Lloyds of London and other UK / London based insurance companies. London underwriters may request full details of the trip to Cuba, including anticipated dates. Also, if there are any US persons on board the vessel then OFAC approval will be required and some underwriters may require sight of this prior to the commencement of the trip.
For those of you insured by American insurance companies and who may be willing to be uninsured while in the waters of CUBA it is highly recommended that you notify your insurance agent / company of your plans. Do not assume that coverage is ONLY void while in the coastal waters of Cuba. And there may well be changes in the insurance market regarding CUBA in the near future!
It is important that when in Cuba you must plan to be very self-sufficient. For a Soundings Trade Only article on visiting Cuba please see: http://www.tradeonlytoday.com/2015/10/nmma-warns-cuba-cruisers-to-manage-expectations/#.VhvsfWAZgJY.mailto