Page 5 - IAMI Review Magazine September - December 2015
P. 5

Boating Accident Reporting
For many, many years, the United Sates Coast Guard has been collecting data relative to the causes of “reportable” boating accidents. The information collected is then compiled and a yearly report is issued by the Commandant for both public and private use (
I review these statistics regularly as part of my job as an investigator and as a claims professional and risk manager. They don’t necessarily make for an exciting read (not something you would keep on your bedside table), but the information is fascinating and sometimes, contrary to general belief. However, we all understand the “garbage in, garbage out theory”, right? Well, the problem with the BAR stats is not GIGO, but it goes even deeper. It is not even getting the “garbage in”. At the very most, only 1 in perhaps 10 “reportable” boating accidents actually get reported. Why do I know this to be the case? Well, in my 30+ year claims career, I have kept track of claims department claims numbers through information supplied by colleagues and in any one year, the number of claims from just one of many underwriters exceeds the total number of “reportable” accidents noted in the corresponding BAR stat for the same year.
This is not a new phenomena. Many, many years ago, when I was 50 pounds lighter and had more hair, a Coast Guard grant was given to a group to collect data from underwriters (anonymously) and compare the data to the BAR results. It was not shocking to hear that the data sets were quite skewed. That was way back when data had to pulled almost manually. Now that we have powerful databases to study, I can’t imagine what the numbers would suggest today, but it would be my educated guess that the situation is even worse than it was back in the early 90’s.
Does this affect me? If you are reading this in the IAMI News Letter the answer is, you bet it does. Boating accident statistics help identify problems with vessels, equipment, and speciic waterways - allowing manufacturers to address design problems, issues such as new LED light visibility, or a body of water that has experienced high levels of boating activity. Law Enforcement, listen up. The BAR stats are used by budget committees and legislative authority to set budget numbers for law enforcement. I mean, why increase the number of cops on the water if there are no boating accidents, right? Non-LE? Insurance? The boating stats can be utilized as a valuable underwriting and claims resource, helping to drive down claims volume by educating the boating public.
So, what can be done? IAMI is the best example of a partnership between LE and Non-LE entities. In this case, the heavy lifting is on the Non-LE side of the house. Insurance underwriters, claims professionals, surveyors and investigators need to understand the importance of gathering the BAR on any and all “reportable” accidents and getting them to the proper collection point. Remember, it is a Federal and State requirement for the BAR to be completed. All I am asking is that we nudge the public towards compliance.
Here is where it all begins:
Daniel K. Rutherford, IAMI-CMI, LPI
Prestigious vessel tracked down
on April 2015; after lengthy documentary investigations, it
was established that the shipyard beneiting of the leasing had
used the “Advance import”
option which led to an erroneous management of the recovery of the loan; the position of the craft was reported to the client company and the relevant authorities.”
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