Topsail Insurance launches new marine legal expenses product

"This is the first time it has been offered in this form in Australia"

Topsail Insurance launches new marine legal expenses product


By Roxanne Libatique

Marine insurance expert Topsail Insurance has launched a new marine legal expenses product for the domestic boating sector in partnership with legal expense insurance provider ARAG Services Australia (ARAG).

Called ARAG Marine Essentials Legal Expense Insurance, the new product is an affordable and effective extension to a policyholder's usual boat insurance, to be marketed under the new trading style of MILE Insurance (MILE). It can be helpful when:

  • Pursuing a monetary settlement from a non-insured party who is at fault in a boating incident; and
  • Dealing with a dispute with a contractor like a vessel maintenance provider or a marina berth.

Additionally, the policy includes a legal helpline and is backed by ARAG and its specialist marine legal team.

MILE CEO Rob Stevens explained that the new standalone product provides a broad range of marine legal expenses cover, including pursuit and defence options for insured events such as contract disputes, marine disputes, personal injury, and uninsured loss recovery.

“Marine legal expense cover is common in Europe, and owners there appreciate what an important addition it is to their boat insurance. I believe that this is the first time it has been offered in this form in Australia,” Stevens said.

ARAG CEO Natasha Gale added: “ARAG [is] excited to work with businesses such as Topsail. Initiatives like these provide us the opportunity to develop bespoke products for a variety of sectors with products such as this offering. It fits with our belief that every individual should be able to assert his or her legal rights, not just those who can afford it.”

The marine industry was one of the industries that took a significant hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from the domestic boating sector, the shipping industry, businesses, and customers were impacted by the pandemic.

Jonathan Moss, head of marine and trade at DWF Group Limited, said in a statement released in September that freight companies, retail businesses, and consumers took a significant hit from the pandemic.

“Serious delays have meant freight companies paying over the odds to receive shipping containers quicker than their competitors,” Moss said.

And if marine insurers thought they could escape the effects of these disruptions, they have another thing coming because Moss predicts that they would “feel the pain with notifications across various insurance lines as vessels are delayed [and] cargo is undelivered, contaminated, and lost, with consequential losses and business interruption losses claimed along the way.”

He claimed that it would take time before the supply chain would go back on track globally. As a result, key players in the supply chain are seeking ways the operation of vessels can become more resilient to unexpected change.    

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