The main expense concerned with the insurance industry is, as you might expect, paying for repairs etc. following accidents or incidents that are suffered by our customers. The second major expense is the administrative cost of running the service, but over the last 40 years, since I first stepped into an insurance office, technology has progressed to such an extent that these admin. costs are now much reduced as a percentage of the overall cost of insurance, and, indeed, the real cost of insurance has decreased considerably accordingly. It therefore follows that if customers had fewer accidents, the cost of insurance could fall still further.
Accidents are often avoidable, extremely varied, sometimes devastating and sometimes even funny. I was just a teenager when I witnessed one of the funniest accidents I can recall. I learnt to sail on the sea at Seaford, on the South Coast, a big open bay facing due South-West into the prevailing wind and consequently quite rough when there was a decent breeze. In view of this we used to retreat to a small lake to race during the Winter months. I raced a Fireball in those days, but the lake was really too small for the Fireball’s speed with turning marks coming up very quickly.
One windy day after several rounds, we rounded the windward mark in some confusion with ropes in a tangle and went straight into a reed bed where we decided to stay while we sorted out the ropes. With my back to the race course, to my left I caught sight of a 420 rounding the windward mark. The helmsman then tried desperately to bear away and there was considerable concern on the faces of the crew. As they passed behind me I turned the other way to see the outcome. Their concern was that the bank protruded at right-angles just yards to our right and the 420 just refused to bear away and gybe, and there was no time left to do anything else. The result was that the 420 shot straight through the small reed bed, mounted the bank, sailed itself right out of the water then capsized – both the crew falling out onto dry land! The good thing about this incident was that there was no damage to boat or crew.
The message then, is to see if we can all take more care in 2011 and reduce the number of accidents and try to get insurance costs down some more. At Yachtmaster we are going to try to reduce premiums by making a special offer to new customers on the Broads in 2011. As Broads tolls are going to be increasing due to the spending review, we are going to endeavour to reduce new customers existing premiums by the same amount that their toll increases thus keeping the overall cost the same. ‘Phone or email and we will see what we can do.
If we can keep the cost of boating down, I am sure this will be appreciated by all concerned.
D. Long - 1/12/2010
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