When accidents or incidents occur, the first course of action — once the emergency has passed — is to pick up the pieces and file an insurance claim.
But filing an insurance claim requires sifting through mounds of paperwork even in the best of cases. There is unfortunately no shortcut to figuring out the root cause of a given incident. While it’s possible to photograph any damage, injury, or demonstrate missing cargo, it’s much more difficult to find the underlying issues or recreate events without a visual record of what happened onboard.
This is why incident reports can take years to be fully completed and released to the public. For example, the cargo vessel BBC Marmara ran aground on 25 July 2021, but the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch only released its accident investigation report in December of 2023.
However, there is a better way to understand the cause of an incident.
Shipping companies today have access to a wealth of technological options that allow them to better understand accidents and incidents, making it much easier to file insurance claims — and help de-risk operations in the future.
What Types of Incidents Trigger a Marine Insurance Claim?
Despite high-profile headlines in the past few years of ships running aground or major onboard fires, overall maritime losses have been cut in half in the past decade, according to AGCS. “Fire/explosion” incidents were the top source of claims from 2017-2021, followed by navigation incidents, an increase over the last five years.
While fires have become more frequent, it’s been challenging as an industry to determine their cause. Even after investigations for high-profile fires like the Felicity Ace, a loss of more than 4,000 vehicles and $400 million worth of cargo, it’s not always clear what caused an incident.
Maritime navigation incidents are another significant trigger for marine insurance claims. These incidents may occur due to human error, navigational miscalculations, adverse weather conditions, or equipment failures, or even cargo shifting. Insurance claims arising from these types of navigation incidents require thorough investigation to determine liability, assess damages, and provide the necessary compensation to affected parties – all of which can be incredibly time-consuming and resource-intensive for the ship owner or manager involved.
While traditional CCTV systems have been a valuable tool for security purposes in the past, they often fall short when it comes to capturing and analyzing incidents that took place. Maritime incidents such as ships running aground or colliding with other vessels require comprehensive visibility to understand the sequence of events and determine liability. To address this issue, there is a growing need for advanced surveillance technologies with real-time data integration, to provide a more complete and accurate picture of incidents onboard.
How AI Technology Can Optimize Maritime Insurance Investigations
AI-powered systems can enhance the speed and accuracy of incident analysis, providing valuable insights for insurance claims.
That’s exactly what ShipIn’s FleetVision Platform can do. ShipIn’s network of AI-powered cameras allows investigation teams to build a thorough understanding of the events leading up to the incident, such as missed routine maintenance, security breaches, or navigational factors, as well as in-the-moment information from multiple angles.
Depending on the circumstances of the claim, it can be challenging to find all of the evidence. Insurance requires:
- Copies of all communication leading up to the incident and post-incident
- Photographs and video of the loss, damage, or injury
- Copies of your insurance policy and all documents related to the vessel ownership and sale, including billing lading, survey report, and claim bill
- Potentially legal advice or a maritime insurance lawyer
Introducing technology onboard can help create a reliable statement of record in case of incidents and accidents, making your insurance claim process go more smoothly and rapidly. Rather than piece together what happened through memory or guesswork after an event, investigators can instead review camera footage and see at a glance any alerts or notifications.
Whether it’s assessing an injury, cargo loss, or equipment damage, ShipIn’s powerful network of AI-powered cameras can make any insurance investigation go more smoothly and efficiently, allowing shipowners peace of mind.