Typical! As soon as you report a major insurance loss to your insurance company, the expert is already standing at your front door, questioning the course of the damage and doing everything in his power to reduce the sum of the loss. This is how many policyholders see the task of an expert – not just in the context of yacht insurance. However, the reality is usually completely different, as Holger Flindt, director of the damage department of the insurance specialist Pantaenius knows.
"Within the Pantaenius Group, we have various experts who focus on a wide range of specialist areas and have the appropriate qualifications, skills and many years of experience. If required, we also bring in external experts. Irrespective of the assignment on which these experts work, the truth is always in the foreground, and we want to get to the bottom of this together with our client or the injured party," says Flindt.
Some people may think there are "empty promises" here but, in most cases, the use of an expert is beneficial for all parties. The competent assessment of all the case facts enables us to correctly assess the cause and extent of the damage. Plus, expert recommendations, for example regarding salvage or the selection of a suitable repair yard, can minimise the damage in many cases. And that is in everyone's interest.
"Without a doubt, insurance damage is always an unpleasant matter for all parties involved - regardless of whether the party causing the damage is the source, the injured party or the insurance company," admits Flindt. "There are often a lot of emotions involved. That's why our experts seek dialogue not confrontation, so that everyone gets the right outcome. Fairness is our top priority, otherwise we would lose our customers very quickly." However, if the other party tries to disguise or distort the facts, the expert quickly becomes an unpleasant adversary, because then it is often a matter of insurance fraud and that is not often a trivial offence.
It is not just insurance companies, banks or courts that make use of this kind of expertise. Particularly in the yacht sector, it is advisable for private individuals to consult experts and this applies in particular to the purchase of an expensive used boat. "For example, a competent expert can quickly use the most appropriate technique to determine whether the yacht has osmosis, which is not obvious to the layman" reports Flindt. Even in the case of luxury multi-series vessels, it may be appropriate to have the inspection carried out by a recognised expert. He knows what to look out for and where defects could be hidden and, with exclusive individual builds, this applies all the more. Depending on the size of the bespoke construction, Flindt believes that it is not only advisable but critically necessary to employ a yacht consultant who will manage the process - from drawing up the contract, to selecting the best shipyard, to supervising the build, acceptance and much more. "For the client, this is difficult to keep track of, let alone cope with in terms of time. Depending on the size of the boat, this can be a full-time job," confirms the Pantaenius expert.
The only question that remains is: How do I find the right expert? In Germany, the term ‘expert’ is not guaranteed so, ultimately, anyone could call himself an expert and, like anywhere, there are "black sheep". Pantaenius can make recommendations if you are uncertain. "Our industry network includes over 35,000 contacts worldwide, including over 4000 experts in all yachting related fields on all continents. There will be someone for every client, no matter how specialist the case", Flindt is certain.