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Sailing With Charlie: Time to Raise A Glass … And Up Your Premiums

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Mocka Jumbies and Rum...

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Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre
Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre

What a year it’s been. 2017 is now having its last gasp and all of us who survived the devastating storms, floods and related deprivations will be glad it’s gone. We didn’t have any crippling wild fires, volcanic eruptions or earthquakes so perhaps we were luckier than some. In the BVI only four souls lost their lives; it could have been so many more!

Now, the wet season is behind us. As our neighbors to the north are bracing for winter we can look forward to warm and brisk trade wind breezes and clear sunny days. Many of us will spend time at the beach or be out on the water. Cold beer will taste the same as will Painkillers and Bushwackers. Insurance companies are paying out and restoration is speeding up. These are winds of change – for the better.

Talking about winds of change; Charlie had a colonoscopy a couple of days before Irma. Horror of horrors – they found a polyp. It was sent to PR for analysis but then Maria came to visit. No word received on results but the wisdom on the street is … Charlie will suffer bouts of wind from now to eternity!

Insurance – for Charlie, is a dirty word – Why? Well, firstly the premiums are horrendous – carefully and systematically calculated to make a nice profit for fat people sitting in offices with statistics and calculators. It’s rather like gambling – in the end the house always wins. A large percentage of the premiums goes to advertising media to try to convince you to get even greater and more expensive coverage. And as the yearly premium due date rolls around, we ask – Am I getting value for money here?

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Fellow writer and cruising yachtsman, Fatty Goodlander, says he’d rather insure himself by buying better ground tackle, communication equipment and being vigilant on all aspects of seaworthiness of his vessel. Charlie agrees. If your mast falls down in the middle of the ocean don’t expect an insurance adjuster to fly over and drop a wad of money on deck – and even if he did, what good would that do.

Look at the system of healthcare in the U.S., Insurance companies can pile on the premiums because they know you have little choice – it’s either buy it or die! Same with the big pharmaceutical companies. It’s the lobbyists for the insurance companies that buy the politicians to deny the citizens a National Health program. Insurance has become a racket!

Now comes the good part: It’s Christmas month. If you insured your ten year old catamaran with all the bells and whistles for twice its value, even if the insurance company pays out as little as possible you are likely to come out a winner; you could buy a new boat. In fact, many boaters have already ordered new boats in anticipation of a good pay day. Charter companies, who are both agents and brokers, are rubbing their hands with glee at the handsome commissions. Every cloud has a silver lining!

Looking to the future there can be little doubt that premiums will sky rocket. Boaters will have to think seriously about moving their vessels out of the path of hurricanes. The Caribbean’s Curaçao is south of the dangerous latitudes and has large safe inland lagoons – perfect for summer refuge. Trinidad is another possibility. Although these are considered safe, nothing is foolproof, but the chances of a hit are minimal … and Charlie will happily take your boat there for a modest fee.

Merry Christmas and a Solid Roof to All …


Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.


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Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.

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