Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Standard Deviations...

more on the cport meeting....
At one point, a question was posed asking why C-PORT wasn't the logical forum for the industry to create some standards that would reflect what would be "fair and reasonable" salvage demands. This discussion was swiftly squashed as the executive director (correctly) pointed out that any discussion of prices or fees was strictly forbidden under anti-trust laws, and would jeopardize C-PORT's non-profit status.

I have some great news for Red Right Returning readers: this blog is not affiliated with C-PORT, and in fact I'm not even a member of C-PORT. I wish I could make money writing this blog, but I don't make a nickle. Even so, RRR is not subject to any laws that govern non-profit entities. Finally, since I don't own a towing company (any more), I'm free to discuss the subject with impunity, and I probably will in the near future. (Full disclosure: I am a summertime sub-contractor to a privately held towing and salvage company.)

But couldn't C-PORT at least cozy up to the issue by discussing some billing standards, or disseminating an industry wide lexicon, so we are all talking about the same thing when we use jargon like "soft-aground" or "Open Form."

The insurance industry would like to see us adopt some standards, right? OK, let's play a little game of "good for the goose, good for the gander". I say we contact the American Insurance Association , and propose that we jointly adopt the following:

C-PORT salvors will abide by the International Convention on Salvage-1989, as ratified by the United States of America, whenever applicable.
The insurance companies will refrain from ignoring or attempting to renegotiate international treaties, and instead recognize that as companies licensed to do business in the USA, they too are bound by the treaties signed by their government.

C-PORT salvors will document everything we can, with photos, video, audio, witness names and signed contracts.
The insurance companies agree that someone who has check writing authority will actually read/watch/listen to that stuff BEFORE they pass it on to an attorney.

C-PORT salvors will submit a written report detailing everything that occurred, and back up our details with the above mentioned documentation.
The insurance companies agree to submit any evidence - including verbal statements that contradict our version of the events - from their clients or witnesses to us in writing, with names and contact info for each.

C-PORT salvors agree to notify the insurance company within 24 hours after the vessel's redelivery (if not sooner) and request that a claim be opened.
Insurance companies agree to open a claim when they have knowledge of a salvage event, and provide all the parties a claim number when one is requested.

C-PORT salvors agree to submit a detailed salvage report within 15 days of the vessel's redelivery.
Insurance companies agree a supply a copy of the declaration page of the policy to the salvor within 5 business days after they receive notice that a salvage claim is pending.

C-PORT salvors agree that they are bound by the arbitration clause in signed salvage contracts.
Insurance companies agree that they are bound by the arbitration clause in salvage contracts signed by their clients.

Don't even get me started about Letters of Undertaking.

....I'm ready to duck.....let 'em fly.