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Monday, October 25, 2021




1800 – 2200          Meet The Speakers Reception sponsored by: SEA, Ltd & MG+M The Law Firm

The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort Convention Center | The Atlantic Ballroom


0700 – 0800           Continental Breakfast sponsored by MARKEL

The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort Convention Center | The Las Olas Ballroom

0800 - 0820            Welcome And Opening Remarks

0820 - 0915            Thankfully lightning does not strike twice in the same place.

A fresh perspective on lightning damage, risk assessment and loss adjusting. Today’s marine underwriters are finding themselves increasingly exposed to ever more complex marine lightning damage claims. A single event often damages or incapacitates systems throughout the vessel requiring extensive repairs, refits and rescue operations. This trend is being driven by the evolution in marine systems, inherent (and rapid) obsolescence of not-so-old electronics, and interconnectivity of each and every onboard system. Important questions to answer are:

a. Is it possible to protect marine vessels from lightning damage?

b. Is our actuarial data on marine lightning claims valid?

c. Are marine lightning claims being adjusted properly?

d. How far should the repairs go (when is enough, enough)?

e. Should there be a modification of deductibles, endorsements or exemptions?

f. When do the settlement discussions end?

g. Depreciation? Betterment?


Jim Coté              

Rick Salway 

Cote Marine

Great American Marine Insurance

0915 - 1010            Fire—An Act of God or perhaps an act of man? 

"Acts of God" for insurance purposes, are defined as events that occur through natural causes and could not be avoided through the use of caution and preventative measures. In essence, the phrase "Acts of God" refers to natural disasters. The phrase generally brings to mind hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, hail, or floods. However, the lines can be fuzzier than most people realize. With the exception of earthquakes, modern science can forecast these events with some certainly. Or perhaps an accidental fire is not considered an Act of God because it could have been prevented, either by someone's actions in starting the fire accidentally or poor workmanship that resulted in a fire. However, a fire caused by a lightning strike that consumes multiple vessels, would or could, be an Act of God. What happens when a similar large aggregate loss is due to an act of arson? But perhaps there are other mitigating circumstances such as the night watchman not being present, failure of a fire suppression system or poor response time (or lack of knowledge) by local firefighters. Can we define the term accident? What truly is accidental? According to one definition from  An accident is such a happening resulting in injury that is in no way the fault of the injured person for which compensation or indemnity is legally sought. The key item for this discussion by our experts is whether a human or humans could reasonably be considered at fault -- at least until we can find a way to sue God.

Investigating the Five W’s:

· Why are we having these Fires?

· Who has experienced fires?

· Where have they been happening?

· What can be done to prevent them?

· When will these changes make a difference?


Krista Fowler Acuna

Scott Grassie

Michael Hill 

Hamilton Miller & Birthisel

Progressive Insurance

S-E-A Limited

1010 - 1030            Morning Break  sponsored by TRAVELERS

1030 - 1100            Keynote Address: TBN

1100 - 1155            How did God Make it Into Millions of Marine Insurance Contracts? 

There are differences between an Act of God, Force Majeure and Inevitable Accident. “Act of God” as a legal defense dates back to the 1500’s or perhaps even Roman times in what was once viewed as the inexplicable; floods, fires, natural disasters. That interpretation has since evolved into a legal shorthand for unanticipated events beyond human control. The Florida Supreme Court ruled in 1944 that an act of God is “an act or occurrence so extraordinary and unprecedented that human foresight could not foresee or guard against it.” When it comes to a public health crisis such as COVID-19, the threshold question is whether the specific circumstances are or may warrant a “triggering event” under the contract. Does the contract define Act of God or Force Majeure? What does it say? What standard applies? Some Act of God provisions differentiate between naturally occurring disasters and government actions. What are the differences between English and U.S. Law? When looking at the classic Tropical Cyclone, experience and technology have provided us the tools to forecast, avoid, evade and in many cases to weather the storm successfully.


Michael K. Bell

Kevin Cooper

Charles B. Anderson

Blank Rome

M-F-B Solicitors

SMA Arbitrator (SKULD North America Consultant)

1155 - 1200           Announcements

1200 - 1330           Lunch Buffet sponsored by AIG  

1330 - 1430           Maritime Theft, Thou Shall Not Steal:

The theft of complete vessels, particularly high-end center-console vessels, express cruisers and sport fishing boats that can be easily moved, hidden and in many cases re-sold to places far away from local jurisdictions has been the topic of discussion for many years. Vessel theft continues to be in the news and progress is being made to control the problem. However, there is another level of theft that rarely makes the news; the lucrative business of stealing expensive components and resale to knowing or sometimes unaware purchasers of stolen goods. Not much different than the days when expensive cars stereos were the target of thieves (remember the anacronym for BMW; Break-My-Windows/Steal-My-Stereo?), today the value of vessel electronics, engines and expensive fishing gear has become the mark of thieves around the waterfront. But all is not lost (or stolen). Insurers, attorneys and equipment makers have made gigantic strides to implement changes in their systems to help take a bite out of this type of crime. Recent apprehensions, arrests and prosecutions are helping to end this trend but challenges remain for law enforcement at local, state and federal levels.  The recent rise in marine related crime is likely due to the ever increasing values of vessels and equipment.  The marine insurance market bears the brunt of the costs involved when crime occurs and this same market stands to benefit most if we all work to solve these issues.


Dan Rutherford

Bruce Marx, Esq.

Lt. Nancy Alvarez

Maritime Program Group

Marlow, Adler, Abrams, Newman & Lewis

Monroe County Sherriff Office

1430 - 1530          They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters:

According to Psalm 107:23-31, the business of going to sea in ships as a commercial enterprise is not a new concept. Marine insurance dates back to Phoenician times and we all know the history of Lloyd’s of London. Since that time, insurance law and the insurance marketplace has becoming more complicated, not less, by regulatory and societal changes.  Why do we continue to experience underwriting difficulties such as ensuring compliance with the notion of “Uberrimae Fidei”. In any form, Utmost Good Faith / Fair Presentation (UK), or Express and Implied Warranties of Seaworthiness are important insurance terms but today we can add Business Interruption and a number of other new concepts that could “almost” be considered as Acts of God. The Insurance Act of 2016 has changed the law in regard to the warranties that have been in effect since the Marine Insurance Act of 1906. But there are added complications in both commercial shipping and yacht chartering. Complex charter contracts, third party managers, beneficial ownership, and the demands imposed under the ISM Code, ISPS, MLC, SOLAS, trade unions and cyber related issues that include compliance with IMO 2021. The current and future environmental compliance requirements are stringent and add additional strain to the business of shipping. The goods must be moved and recent worldwide events have proven that the business of shipping can, and does, continue to operate under legal and regulatory pressure from all sides.


Thomas Murphy

Neil Bayer

Corey Ranslem

Hanover Insurance Group

Campbell Johnston Clark

International Maritime Security Associates

1530 - 1600            Afternoon Break  sponsored by STARR MARINE

1600 - 1700            Who is going to stop me?

The United States Coast Guard is tasked with enforcing many of our domestic maritime laws and their most recent target is illegal chartering. For years there has been a nonchalant attitude to vessel chartering at the State and Federal level by domestic vessels but while it may be a known fact that paying guests are on the water and vessel owners receive renumeration in cash or in-kind payment, the practice is illegal. Part of the reason may be the problems associated to police the countless number of small vessels that appear to be out for a family cruise (but are not) or perhaps that illegal charters are just not on the RADAR until somebody gets hurt. Many of the vessels engaged in this practice of “Coastwise Trade” do not fulfill the necessary “6-Pack” requirements or for larger boats, the required United States Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection to carry passengers for hire. Recent incidents have brought the problem to light and the authorities are cracking down.  The issues surrounding this subject include but are not limited to owners liability, insurance coverage, flag/registry issues, potential seizure of the vessel, and safety concerns for guests, crew and the environment. Notwithstanding the potential fines and other economic losses to the vessel owner, the charterer may also be held liable for the activities that occurred onboard such as personal injury, pollution or illegal use of controlled substances. While no recreational vessel liability policy will allow commercial charters, will hull and pollution coverage still stand if the vessel is loaned to a friend of the owner or business associate who uses it for a commercial activity? Our panel of law enforcement professionals will explain their concerns about boating safety, enforcement, interdepartmental cooperation and enforcement of the law.  Other concepts under this topic include Air B&B’s for boats and rent my boat programs.


Major Alfredo Escanio

Captain Alberto Maza

Jesus Porrata

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Chief of Investigations Division, USCG Miami

1700 - 1715            Closing Remarks / Vacation Raffle sponsored by Cooper Capital Specialty Salvage

1715 - 2000            Cocktail Reception  sponsored by Safe Waters & Horr Novak & Skipp, PA