Research your Insurance Company to avoid a Refused Claim

Sadly, you only really know how good your insurance company is when you have to make that all-important claim. Here one cruiser tells his story when his pride and joy was burgled and the insurance company refused to pay out.

Published 11 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Refusal Letter

My boat Francesca was comprehensively burgled in Gallions Point Marina in London in July of this year. Despite advising the insurance company exactly what contents cover I needed BEFORE renewing, they’ve rejected the entire claim out of hand, in fact, the whole letter is only two sentences long (see a photo of letter adjacent)!

I had asked for £5,000 of contents cover (and had stated this was to include GPS, radio, chart cassettes, camera, computer, clothing etc.). My schedule actually stated 5,000 Euros for equipment/other. In their refusal letter, they stated that the reason they were rejecting my claim was that I “did not have coverage for personal effects”!

Edward William Marine Services supplied the policy, Northernreef Insurance is the Insurers.

They weren’t cheap! The reason I went with them initially was that I wanted Black Sea cover and other insurers were reticent. They were actually recommended by a Kiwi sailor although he’d never had to claim.

After talking to the UK Ombudsman I got on to the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Hidden away on their website is a warning about Edward William Marine Services, here’s the link, then click on E in the alphabetic buttons.

Thing is who would know to look there? And if they’re known to be a danger to consumers why are they allowed to trade here in the UK? Which is probably why publicising the fraud is going to be the best way to help others – I don’t expect to get anything back as things stand – not even the premium. I’d never heard of the Financial Conduct Authority before all this happened and I imagine most yachtsman wouldn’t know to check there.

I have reported the fraud to The National Fraud Reporting Centre (i.e. the British Police) – this company are running an office in Great Yarmouth, UK.

It turns out that Edward William, is regulated in Spain, so I have written to the Spanish Ombudsman as well. I have however been advised that a claim against Edward William may be subject to Spanish Law and be very costly and take a long time with no certainty.

I’ve written about it on facebook

And on my blog

And I’ve even made a Pinterest Board

I hope other cruisers will take a look at one of the links and share it around so that other sailors, yachtsmen and women and liveaboards don’t get caught out by these people.

Malcolm Snook

Editor’s Note: Admiral marine Insurance, who offered Malcolm advice following his refused claim, are putting together an article for noonsite “what to look for in an insurance policy”, which will be published early September.


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  1. November 16, 2018 at 6:57 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Deeply ironic that Admiral Marine are offering ‘advice’ on making claims. At the moment I have a claim running with the Financial Conduct Authority with Admiral Marine for their failure to deal appropriately with a claim for damage I sustained in hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico.

    They are wriggling on every hook they can find to avoid payment; so far reasons to avoid payment have ranged from there must be a cheaper way of replacing damaged toe rails than replacing them with new to you had a charter business and we cannot pay any money to you, through a whole raft of complete untruthful assumptions about how the boat was prepared for the hurricane. The FCA has escalated the complaint to Lloyds who are the underwriters in the Watkin Syndicate 457.

    As another example of how they operate; In 2009 I was run into by a motorboat while moored alongside in the USA. Admiral Marine threatened to cancel my insurance if I did not pay an excess of £1,000 even though I dealt with the other parties insurers direct and no correspondence ensued. They then, I suspect due to possible poor practice or worse, offered to refund the money. By then I had had everything repaired and Progressive had paid me out. I should have changed to an insurer that walks the walk not talk the talk.
    You have been advised

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