Brought to you by:

Boat owner failed to keep up with premiums before hitting rocks

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google

A yacht owner whose claim for his wrecked boat was refused because his policy with Club Marine had been cancelled for non-payment of premiums has lost his complaint.

The insured does not dispute the payments of monthly premiums via deductions from his credit card were in arrears but says he had not been adequately informed of the cancellation.

He insisted he had provided Club Marine with another email address to reach him and that the insurer failed to update his contact details and should therefore settle his claim by paying him $70,000 for the loss of his boat, which crashed onto rocks in July and was destroyed.

But the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) says the insurer complied with its obligations under the Insurance Contracts Act and terms in the product disclosure statement, having sent out the relevant notices to the yacht owner’s last known email address.

AFCA says the yacht owner had agreed to receive notices and documents electronically, and had provided an email address for it.

Club Marine emailed the yacht owner about seven dishonoured payments between September last year and January. The first dishonoured payment occurred on September 4, a day after the boat insurance policy was issued.

The yacht owner called Club Marine back about the missed payments, and on January 31 the insurer sent another email letter saying an attempt to deduct the overdue premium was also dishonoured.

The letter said that, as per previous correspondence, the policy would be cancelled in the next 14 days.

On February 24, the insurer sent a further email confirming the account was still in arrears and that the policy would be cancelled if the matter was not resolved in the next seven days.

A final letter was sent on March 3 to inform the yacht owner that the policy had been cancelled from 4pm on that day.

AFCA says the available information shows the insured had failed to update his contact details, contrary to what he had said.

He was asked to supply substantiating evidence such as his phone call records showing the date and time of the alleged call where he provided his other contact details but his response was that he does not have the records for his pre-paid phone.

He also says he may have used another person’s phone to make the call, which explains why the insurer has no record of the alleged call.

Copies of phone calls provided by Club Marine show that on January 12, the yacht owner confirmed the email address held by the insurer was the correct one to reach him.

“This call confirms the complainant did not ask for his contact details to be updated,” AFCA said. “He advised the insurer about his transit number but did not request his preferred contact email address be changed.

“He instead referred to these details as something ‘just in case anything happens down here’.”

Click here for the ruling.