The sheer growth in the sum and size of yachts is one of the biggest changes Andrew Dudzinski and John Haagensen, founders and owners of MHG Insurance Brokers have seen in the last twenty-five years since opening their first office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1991. Today, the duo and their 30 employee strong team in offices both in the U.S. and Europe count over 20 percent of the top 200 largest yachts in the world as clients.
“Initially, the focus was on providing crew insurance to captains, officers and crew members working on board cruise ships,” explains marketing manager, Melissa Gribas. “Benefits were well received and a few years later we began offering crew insurance to the yacht industry. Today, the biggest need is finding the right insurance broker that is not tied to a specific company or product, who will find the client the right insurance based on their requirements.”
Another big change in the last quarter century, specifically in the maritime sector as a whole is the Maritime Labour Convention and the Affordable Care Act, which is also called Obamacare. These have affected crew insurance, but Gribas says MHG is also seeing that owners are looking at crew as less of a commodity and more as valued employees. Owners are therefore wanting to provide insurance to protect these workers against sickness and injury.
One of MHG’s greatest accomplishments since its founding, says Gribas, has been the development of quality, competitive insurance products for its clients. She says the company regularly anticipates and reacts to regulatory changes, recruitment trends and also member feedback. In doing so, MHG has created several of its own plans and been instrumental in the development of others.
“As we enter our 25th year, we have several ongoing projects. Overall, however, we’re going to continue to focus on providing our clients with the best possible service, because that’s what they have come to expect from us. As the industry’s needs change, so will MHG’s approach to be sure that the insurance plans remain relevant, appropriate and competitive,” she says.