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SUPERYACHT #517
May 2005

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news


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Pierluca Impronta, CEO of Marine & Aviation, interviewed by Fabio Petrone


MARINE & AVIATION
Quality as a mission

Pierluca Impronta, our interview with whom we publish below, is the CEO of an insurance brokerage firm, Marine & Aviation, which, as the name suggests, specialises in the marine and aviation sectors. Today, Marine & Aviation offers insurance services specifically tailored to the property concerned, whether it is a boat, a ship or a jet, as well as to a company or any other valuable asset. It thus offers its customers total coverage applicable to all areas of their activities... their work, their free time, their hobbies.

"We were the first Italian brokers to have access to Lloyd's of London's insurance services" - begins Impronta - "and we all know that the English insurance market is the reference market. This means that we are able to offer high-quality insurance coverage and services, proposing detailed solutions to protect managers' and professionals' activities and assets".

How did you happen to become involved in the world of yachting?

"Let's say that Marine & Aviation's presence in the sailing world is now a given and is the result of the natural evolution of our activities in other sectors. We have always dealt with industrialists, CEOs and the managing directors of the numerous companies we insure. It was first and foremost they who asked us for equally effective insurance coverage for their much-loved boats. This was the input, this was the driving force. So we organised ourselves in order to be able to offer total insurance services in this area as well, working out of our Naples and Milan offices. During the last two years, we have concentrated our efforts in this sector because our potential customers in the sailing world are also potential customers in the other sectors we cover. Hence, as our sailing customers come to appreciate the quality of our work when it comes to their free-time interests, we also have the opportunity to interest them in our services for their professional activities. So our approach, and this is one of the factors that makes us particularly competitive, is to offer our customers specifically tailored insurance packages which also cover their boats..."

You insure boats, but do you also insure the shipyards that build them?

"Yes, we cover the boats' risks but also those inherent to shipyards and sailing operators, to whom we offer specific, made- to-measure insurance plans based on analysis of each aspect of their activities. This all-encompassing risk management is difficult to obtain elsewhere because insurance companies, the larger the coverage they provide, the more selective they are of their customers, offering everything to the good customers and much less to the others".

What is the strong point of your service?

"Our approach, based on years of experience with both industry and with insurance holding-companies such as Lloyd's, has taught us to be very careful, to define and manage risks precisely. The broker represents the customer, studies the best solutions and identifies the offers on the international market which are most appropriate to the customer's needs. The risk is determined by the broker but always as the customer's representative. The more accurate the risk determination is, the more guarantee the customer has, both when the contract is drawn up and if a claim occurs. This is the only way for liquidation to be appropriate and rapid when an accident takes place.

Do you insure any type of boat?

"For those who are already our customers with their companies or any kind of activity, yes, whether it's a question of a 15-m sloop or a superyacht worth ?15 million. For others, we impose a limit of ? 50,000, although there is a degree of flexibility".

In the case of superyachts, do you also insure those involved in chartering?

"Naturally, and we give them complete service. Most of these large boats operate in two seasons, the summer season here in the Mediterranean and the winter season in the Caribbean. We cover them at any time. We also cover the transfer to and the period spent in the Caribbean area, or in any other part of the world. Our work is not seasonable really because we have a very large, heterogeneous customer-base. We provide assistance at any time, including for the month of August, which is the time of year when most accidents happen at sea".

Still with respect, do you deal with particular risks?

There are two things which we try to offer and which are not always accepted, partly because they represent a cost and, in any sector, costs are a major concern. One has to do with the loss of a charter, that is, if something happens which prevents the asset from being chartered - if, because of the weather, for example, or for some other reason, the boat can no longer be chartered. The other is extended assistance which provides for the immediate sending of skippers, medical personnel and spare parts when required. Everything is done in order to ensure a rapid solution to whatever problems may arise and to enable the activity to continue or to ensure the prompt return of the boat to its port of origin, wherever it may be located when it runs into difficulty. We have no territorial limits".

When you assess the risk, do you take the boat's classification into consideration?

"The boat's certifications count, of course, but so do the age and the value. Then, as we have said, we consider the boat's usual routes and seasons. A third element assessed is the history of the crew working on board as well as that of its owner, including cases in which the owner is also the skipper, as often happens with smaller boats".

Are you also able to insure boats which compete in sports events?

"We offer coverage for risks encountered by boats participating in regattas and we also insure the regattas themselves, just as we have insured sporting events and even theatre performances and concerts. As far as regattas are concerned, we insure everything, from event cancellation to a boat's victory".

In what way?

"Let's consider an America's Cup team, for example, in which case the crew is often paid in proportion to the result obtained. If the boat wins, the owner and sponsor are obliged to pay out a considerable sum in prizes. This is a calculable risk, an event which Lloyd's of London analyses and for which it offers coverage".

And if the boat doesn't win?

"If a policy is drawn up which covers the risk deriving from the lack of a major image return or loss of income which would otherwise have been obtained for a winning sponsor, then the insurance will also cover this aspect. Certainly, this type of coverage is not drawn up on the run, off the cuff, it must be studied and developed carefully, but it is feasible. We are always working to provide prompt services, such as by taking advantage of the Internet, where we have set up a system enabling our customers to consult us in real-time, looking at our policies and all the related material".

Are your clients able to contact you through the Internet?

"Yes, of course, our site is accessible to them too through the Marine & Aviation Yacht Club section, although the fastest solution is to contact us via telephone. This is simpler and more instinctive".

Finally, do some boats represent a greater risk than others?

"In our experience, the greatest risk involves boats with an insured value of ? 200,000/ ?300,000, that is, boats belonging to Sunday sailors, those without serious seagoing experience".

For further information: Marine & Aviation - Via Francesco Caracciolo 17, 80122 Naples - tel. +39 081 7619711 - fax: +39 081 7619797.