Why Should You Choose Our Firm As Your Insurance Specialist?
We have spent (15) years specializing in designing insurance products and identifying risks inherent to the distribution of seafood, meat and other foodstuffs in worldwide trade. As a prospective client, it is important for you to understand the services and insurance products we provide versus those offered by Traditional Insurance Agents (TIAs).
Allow us to compare the offerings of MMIB and TIAS in a systematic fashion to allow you to expedite your own analysis.
We provide no other types of insurance typically provided by traditional insurance agents. You will note that every coverage we offer involves risks inherent to the distribution of seafood, meat and other foodstuffs. However, many of our systems are built around the needs of seafood traders.
When MMIB commenced operations in 1983 it chose to specialize, and we continue to specialize in this very complicated and volatile field today. During the last (15) years we have worked daily with seafood traders and have built powerful software systems based on (15) years of proprietary data and "know how." Our systems are used daily to allow traders to risk engineer their more hazardous trades and to continually search for new sources of supply.
Risk assessments and insurance placements are constantly changing as the market changes and the risks of food regulatory intervention ebb and flow from country to country, product to product, packer to packer, and even, port to port. We have spent more than one-half million dollars in developing and implementing our software system and in building data banks so our policyholders can make enlightened decisions relating to product purchase, and to determine how to shape coverage so only their true dollar exposures to loss are covered.
To further describe the extent of our dedication to the seafood industry and our field of chosen specialization the following is a history of our involvement culminating in our most recent activities.
The Trade Support System includes the risk assessment services noted above, and permits you to customize coverage and to selectively self-insure. These strategies are used concurrently by policyholders in order to limit their exposure to loss and limit their premium outflow. Other free Trade Support Services include legal recovery services, loss prevention services, claim support services, FDA, DFO, and EU Appeal Services, HACCP compliance services, food regulatory compliance services, legal defense in the event of State or Federal domestic seizure, and many other consulting services involving U.S. Customs penalties, Lacey Act infractions, C.I.T.E.S. requirements, admiralty and domestic transportation law issues, law governing care and custody issues, insurance law and practice, and coverage determination. If and when you must purchase goods on a C.I.F. basis, and the insurer who provided coverage fails to honor your claim, we can not only interpret coverage to have your existing marine policy pay the loss, but we can also provide professional assistance in obtaining a full claim settlement from the off-shore insurer.
TIAs typically provides Workers Compensation, Group Health Insurance, Group Life Insurance, Retirement Plans, Major Medical Insurance, Automobile Liability, Business Property and Product Liability types of insurance.
As a business owner, I place our own business coverages. I place our health with a company that does only health coverages. I used the same specialist approach for small business insurance package coverages, Workers Compensation, Life Insurance, and Retirement Plans. It is a specialist world and I have long recognized the value of specialized knowledge.
MMIB believes specialization requires in-depth knowledge and therefore, we have taken this opportunity to examine the sub-components of marine, inland marine, and rejection coverages. We have broken down the sub-components so they have real meaning within a product trading scenario.
A common element to every marine policy. One can trade many years without calling upon this coverage. However, when Indonesia was self-destructing in May 98, I was up to mid-night communicating with my overseas contacts, and decided to keep the coverage intact at the same existing non-crisis low rates, even when the London War Risk Commission decided to raise their rates considerably. The next morning I was on the telephone with our clients who actively buy seafood in Indonesia and shared my information with them.
If and when your cargo is shipped on a watercraft conveyance that is 20-25 years old, or older, your insurance company can charge you additional premiums and penalties. At MMIB, we do not charge for over-age vessels. Full coverage is provided should your goods be carried on this class of conveyance.
A very confusing coverage option. In short, if you buy C.I.F. and the insurer fails to honor your claim, your own marine policy steps in to indemnify you. Sounds great, but if your current trading is properly insured, it becomes unnecessary and costly.
The staff of MMIB, and our associate company, International Cargo Loss Prevention, have visited more than 250 marine insurers in their place of business, in more than 20 countries during the last 15 years. When our clients must buy on a C.I.F. basis, or when we have determined with them that it is to their advantage to buy C.I.F., we screen the security and insurance coverage requested and put into place services which will permit them to collect a viable claim, at no extra charge. Of course, if they need the type of coverage noted as (C) such can quickly be endorsed onto the marine policy.
In todays time, transshipment risks are common place. They are covered by every marine insurance policy in the world, at no extra charge.
Duty is not a significant exposure in the seafood trade, unless of course you are importing Chinese Crawfish, or other seafood subject to punitive tariff measures. It is of course insurable and quite inexpensive to insure if properly structured within your valuation clause.
There are numerous care and custody coverage issues and the components of selling price valuation, earthquake, high limits, inventory storage, and concealed damage are all common elements. Other coverage elements included in MMIBs coverage are: coverage for freon tainting of product, coverage while goods have been delivered to the warehouse but still stored in their original shipping container, mysterious disappearance and coverage in place for unnamed storage locations. There are other coverage elements, and in particular, a few of special importance to the seafood sector which MMIB also provides.
If the container suffers a temperature fluctuation and the fluctuation of temperature has damaged your product, you simply want your marine or inland marine coverage to respond to your loss. Whether the container was not plugged in at the port of transshipment, port of loading, or port of discharge (human error) or the reefer unit suffered a machinery breakdown or malfunction of some mechanical apparatus which is part of the refrigeration process, is immaterial. Your coverage should respond to the loss. MMIBs coverage responds to all types of temperature abuse losses. However, more importantly, because we have admiralty law trained persons on staff, we can often orchestrate recovery quite quickly. By crediting back your loss, you maintain a healthy portfolio which generates substantial dividends and keeps your rates at rock bottom.
Marine and inland marine insurance has always covered these modes of transportation. While TIAs can offer general trade limits, MMIB can extend coverage to areas of Africa, Mexico, and other locales which have suffered substantial theft losses in the past.
We discuss with each policyholder the trade or series of trades contemplated and determine the policyholders maximum exposure to loss and cover it. We will often suggest a different trade structure that reduces the traders exposure to loss, thereby allowing us to charge lower rates for the benefit of covering the limited exposure. Valuations are tricky, and if improperly applied, an assured could end up paying far more premium than he needs to pay.
We have highlighted our specialization in the rejection class of risk above. Additionally we should point out that MMIB has copyrighted numerous different rejection coverages. They have all evolved over the years, specifically, to stay in step with the evolution of regulatory enforcement in the seafood and meat sectors. They contain highly specific coverages which come into play within both sectors, and are far more comprehensive than any other rejection clauses used in the world today.
The rejection may be full, partial, or highly customized and certainly can include destruction of cargo by governmental authority and return freight. However, in the real world of food regulation, different governmental authorities impose different penalties and enforcement actions that can cause losses, which must also be covered and serviced.
Destruction by governmental authority has many different faces. It could mean, who would bear the cost of destruction if the government seeks to destroy the product? It could mean, who provides for indemnification for product destroyed, but the more important question is --when? Does the government seek to destroy your product once it has been refused? Or, once the goods have entered interstate commerce? Does the coverage provide for seizure mitigation and/or legal work involved with fighting the seizure in Federal Court?
MMIB provides coverage for seizure mitigation, seizure defense and can
provide coverage for the costs of destruction involved with refusal or seizure if such
become necessary. MMIB has handled more than 800 FDA, DFO and EU detention/refusal actions
and has been able to gain a partial or full release of product in many cases. When product
was refused, we have been able to consummate an export sale of product, except for those
parcels we deemed necessary to sell for non-human consumption. With respect to seizure
activity, the FDA may only detain and refuse product at the time of importation. However,
once goods have entered interstate commerce the government may not deprive the seafood
trader of "Due Process" and thus can only seize and condemn your product given
very specific legal criteria and by filing an action in
MMIB maximizes the purchasing power of your premium dollar in the following areas of support:
In one six week period, MMIB staff members visited clients in Chicago, New York, and Toronto. We attended the Brussels Seafood Show for (3) days, and visited with marine insurers in Rotterdam, Paris, Stockholm, Sydney, Melbourne, and Auckland. We attended a two day Regulatory Law Conference in Washington D.C., as members of the Food & Drug Law Institute. With the assistance of the NFI Vice President of Government Relations, Mr. Bill Wright, we met with Republican and Democratic Senior Staff aides to Senators Hutchison and Hollins. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, (R-Texas) is Chairwoman of the Senate Merchant Marine Subcommittee and has vowed to change the 1936 Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, the law governing the liability of imported and exported cargo which has been damaged or lost at sea, or on land when shipments are part of an international movement of goods. We reviewed the draft of the new COGSA law which the Senator hopes to pass into law, and lobbied for two changes which would further protect all cargo interests, especially those importers and exporters of high valued cargo, such as seafood.
Fifteen years ago I chose to specialize in a very complicated field simply because there was a demand in the market place for this specialized product and knowledge. I am proud to say that our willingness to partner our services with unique insurance products has provided many challenges, but most importantly, the satisfaction of watching our clients continue to grow, prosper, and secure greater market share has been most rewarding.
Many other well run professional seafood companies have also grown and evolved during this time. However, we believe we can provide greater financial security, more information to make the best possible decisions in light of the current regulatory environment, and greater sourcing flexibility, to even the largest and most sophisticated traders.
Give us a call. Let us get to know about you and your unique trading profile. Give us the opportunity to design a mixture of insurance coverages and services which will allow you to better navigate through a world filled with more frequent temperature abuse losses, more thefts, more frequent food regulatory interventions, and more competition as each company competes for new sources of raw material.
Marine Management Insurance Brokers, Inc.
Curtis W. Keyes
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