I enjoyed your article on boat insurance (30 January, Insurance Times), but there is a problem with the statistics about millions of boats given to you . Only a few are gin palaces.

Actually, the figures quoted for the number of "boats" in the UK include almost anything that floats, from canoes to kayaks and tenders to hundreds of thousands of sailing dinghies.

There are specialist agents and brokers covering most smaller craft on special schemes that naturally provide better terms than are obtainable for individual risks by the high street broker. As those premiums start as low as £15 including IPT, the costs of handling the insurance will usually be greater than the commission for general brokers.

Some specialist firms like mine don't insure anything but private boats so pose no threat to general brokers and agents, which is why so many of them insure their own craft with us and recommend it.

The other problem for brokers is they have staff who know boats well, and that makes it difficult when dealing with claims. Chris Knox-Johnston's cowpat is the same in any language, but most boat claims require a thorough knowledge of boat parts, materials, terms, racing rules and collision regulations, to say nothing of the Merchant Shipping Act.

David Crum
Newton Crum

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