Topic : Dinghy Insurance and the Bishop Skinner Experience

Many times on this forum, various people including myself have recommended Bishop Skinner as they have been cheap and the service OK although there have been some negative comments in the last 12 months about the later.

Let me relate my experiences in the last 12 months:
1. Late February 2006, no renewal reminder received (in the past this had been received in January) and it was not until early March that I happened to notice that this had not been renewed.
2. I was told when I eventually renewed in early March after several telephone calls that they had been having some system problems and that possibly my record had not been transferred to the new system. The paperwork eventually arrived in early April (dated 30th March 2006). I luckily set up an electronic reminder for the renewal date in 2007.
3. On to late February 2007, no renewal reminder received but electronic reminder prompted me to call Bishop Skinner only to be told in a very off hand manner by the person who took the call that I had not renewed in 2006! As I did not have the renewal documentation immediately to hand, all that I was able to get him to agree to do was take this up with the lady who dealt with dinghy insurance and that she would phone me back.
4. Subsequently, I found my documentation from the previous year and called back to quote the exact details of the policy which I held with them only to be told again that they could do nothing about it as the system showed that it had not been renewed (I held the certificate plus a credit card receipt!).
5. When no call back materialised after several hours, I called several more times requesting to speak to the lady who deals with dinghy insurance and finally got her on the third attempt. She informed me that I had indeed been left off the system but would send out a renewal notice shortly.
6. By this time, I was getting thoroughly p*** off with Bishop Skinner and did some calling around to alternative insurers and managed to fix up insurance that afternoon for some £10 more than with Bishop Skinner. The forms arrived within a couple of days and the correct documentation was got back within a short time of returning the form.
7. When the renewal documentation arrived from Bishop Skinner, you will perhaps not be surprised to learn that it was incorrect and that they had omitted to include a waiver to one of the policy’s endorsement which I had negotiated (at length!) some years ago.

When I got a recent reminder from Bishop Skinner that I had not renewed, I did send them an email outlining why I had gone elsewhere and am awaiting a reply but not holding my breath!

Posted: 10/03/2007 13:23:20
By: RichardT
I can only speak for myself and say that I have used them on my last three Merlins. They have always called me when I have ignored their letters to renew, and this year they called my mobile and my insurance was agreed, paid by visa in Heathrow terminal 1, waiting for a delayed flight.
I am sure everyone will have a different view or experience, it is not always the company but normally the individual that your are dealing with.

Posted: 10/03/2007 14:24:08
By: Rocket0_1
Actually I received a renewal notice from BS (in fact a reminder) this morning for a policy which is due to expire in the next couple of days. I would agree very much down to individuals i'm afraid.

Posted: 10/03/2007 19:28:28
By: Richard Battey
No such problems with Noble, and in our limited experience they settle fair and fast.  Beware the cheapest!

Posted: 12/03/2007 23:38:03
By: Midland Mischief
I have both my Merlin Rocket and my Finn insured with Craft Insure.  To my surprise the renewal of my Finn insurance was invited at a 30% increase over previous years.  When questioned, I was advised that the increase was due to a poor claims experience  but I replied, I have not made any claim on my Finn insurance to which I was advised that I had made two claims on my Merlin Rocket insurance.  True I had made a claim but the second turned out to be my son's insurance and nothing to do with me.

Despite this clarification, I was still told that the increase still stood as they insure the person not the boat. Needless to say the Merlin Rocket premium increased by a similar percentage.

I have yet to put the suggestion that since they insure the person, not the boat and it is impossible for me to sail both at once. Why do I need two policies?

Posted: 12/03/2007 23:52:20
By: Bob2926
The wording is clear in their sample policy, as attached, they do insure the craft (funny that given their name, other wise they would be personinsure maybe).

I guess what you were told wasn't technically correct, it should have been, they take into consideration the claims record of the proposer as one input when calculating the risk they are taking on.

I do think Craft Insure over value the risk caused by people who have claimed versus those that haven't, compared to most other insurers, and they price those out, I guess they are looking for only very easy money. That is why I no longer use them, due to this pricing out.

The 'easy money' option isn't a substainable business model, in my opinion.

see text of policy


Mr A Sample having made a proposal and declaration to for the Insurance of Merlin Rocket,
“BoatNameHere” (including equipment) valued at £1,000 and the premium having been paid to for the
period DD/MM/YYYY to DD/MM/YYYY and any subsequent period that you pay the agreed premium, we will indemnify
you as provided subject to the exceptions, conditions, limitations, definitions and warranties contained in
this policy, such conditions being precedent to our liability."

Posted: 13/03/2007 10:02:48
By: Alan F
Noble are very good. I've had two relatively large claims with them both were settled in a week with suprisingly no premium increase that i could see though i did change my boat in between.

They are however very expensive compared with most others, possibly because they don't hike premiums (As much as some anyway) for those that claim.

Posted: 13/03/2007 10:26:19
By: Chris M
Isurance is just like betting on horse races "Form" does count indeed it's all the insurer has to go on. Lloyds was once called "The worlds largest licensed betting office".

Posted: 13/03/2007 10:27:20
By: ):-
I thought Noble didnt do Merlins?

Posted: 13/03/2007 12:26:30
By: Mags
Admiral stopped doing merlins but were then taken over by Noble.

Posted: 13/03/2007 12:38:36
By: Chris M
Ours is through Noble and they have been very efficient in other classes and for the Merlin too....

Posted: 13/03/2007 13:14:44
By: Mark
An interesting set of responses.

To Rocket_01 and Richard B who talk about it being individuals and not the company, I have to beg to disagree.

These people are simply brokers and not the actual insurer. All that they have as their edge is their level of customer service. If that is poor then it is the company's fault in not controlling the individuals who work for it.

After all, what confidence can we have in them actually putting the correct policy details to the actual insurer?

For the record, I moved to Mardon Marine (formerly Red Insurance) for a bare 10% increase in premium. Worth it for the peace of mind - I'll let you know in 12 months time if I've not got my renewal reminder.

Posted: 13/03/2007 19:38:54
By: RichardT
Posting negative comments about businesses on this forum does not really seem appropriate.  

Not sure if I do pay over the odds for my insurance with Noble, but they responded very well to my claim, which I had delayed for a considerable time and which was substantial. They were prompt both in their response and in payment and there there was no quibbling.

I think this is because there are keen dinghy sailors among them and for the most part they understand our concerns and eagerness to get back on the water with minimum fuss.

I am not moving my insurance. (...and no, I don't work for them)

Posted: 14/03/2007 00:42:01
By: The Old trout
Normally I would agree with Old Trout but in this case, I felt it appropriate that forumites should be aware of the downside of Bishop Skinner as there have been many, many postings suggesting that Merlins should use them.

Posted: 14/03/2007 09:42:32
By: RichardT
I too agree with Old Trout what's the saying

'opinions are like buttocks, everyone has them but they shouldn't be aired in public'

Like all insurance brokers, the proof is in the pudding!

Hopefully it will never happen, but until you actually make a claim you cannot really judge what any insurance firm is like and going by your first posting you have fortunately not had to make a claim with this particular Broker?

Posted: 14/03/2007 11:57:06
By: Richard Battey
I am with Bishop Skinner - have had prompt reminders and have had a few changes to the insurance policies as I have acquired or sold boats.  I upped the value of one of the boats to reflect that it has a wooden mast but was pleased to see that there was no increase in premium.  I guess that what we all agree on is that when (God forbid) we have to make a claim it is settled quickly and without fuss and I don't see anyone complain about that side of it with Bishop Skinner.

Posted: 14/03/2007 12:30:19
By: Garry R
I had a claim with BS that was settled to my satisfaction. Not really had any reason to complain, and I do recall they have been recommended on this forum many times.

Posted: 14/03/2007 13:30:48
By: Mags
Picture the headline.


Not sure why you need insurance Richard, the collisions are never your fault!

By the way I still need to return a trailer wheel & key to you......


Posted: 14/03/2007 20:02:23
By: Jon
BS sent me a reminder with a caveat saying there was no period of grace. I rang up spoke to a very pleasant lady who took the payment and thanked me for it. Having never made a claim on my insurance I can't comment on that bit. My experience is positive and they were less expensive than others some up to double the cost.

Posted: 15/03/2007 08:13:56
By: Nigel 3280

Pass them both on the David - I dare say I will see him over the next week or so.


Posted: 15/03/2007 11:29:29
By: RichardT
I claimed with Bishop Skinner after inadvertently removing my transom with the rudder in Salcombe last July.  They did not cover the temporary repair I had done to sail for the week as this was a policy exclusion unless neccessary to prevent further damage, but they covered the subsequent expensive carpentry with no problems, paid Laurie Smart pretty promptly and directly, claim dealt with largely via e-mail which suited me well.  I have always had reminders in good time.

Posted: 15/03/2007 11:56:46
By: Andrew M


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