TRIA Extension Passed by Congress

TRIA has been renewed by Congress. The Legislation now goes to the President who is expected to sign it very soon. The key provisions are:

  • 6 year reauthorization;
  • $200 million trigger – no change in 2015, but phased-in the following five years in $20 million  increments;
  • 80-20 public – private co-share –no change in 2015, then phases in over one-percentage per year (Senate text);
  • Program Cap – $100 Billion (unchanged from current program);
  • Deductible – 20 percent (unchanged from current program);
  • Certification – Treasury Secretary shall study and report to Congress on certification process and within 9 months of that report, issue final rules on certification process, including on timeline for certification;
  • Recoupment – The insurance marketplace aggregate retention amount is the LESSER of (1) $29.5 B, which climbs in annual increments to $37.5 B; or (2) an aggregate amount for all insurers of covered losses during calendar year. Following year five of the program, when  the retention amount equals $37.5B, the aggregate retention shall be equal to a 3 year average of the sum of insurer deductibles for all insurers participating in the program. This adjustment does not include the House text 107(b). The percentage recoupment is 140 percent.

Congresses intent is the TRIA reauthorization will apply retroactively and continuously without any lapse so that there will be no program gap. The Treasury Department will issue guidance and regulations consistent with that intent implementing the reauthorized TRIA program. WQIS will continue to cover losses caused by terrorism events consistent with the TRIA extension and our policy terms and conditions.

Please contact WQIS if you have any questions or would like further information regarding the TRIA renewal.

UPDATED: Single-hull Tank Vessel Phase-out

As we have previously advised, vessel owners and operators should be aware that the OPA 90 phase-out deadline for single-hull tank vessels was January 1, 2015. This means that it is now unlawful to operate any single-hull tank vessel subject to the double-hull requirements of 33 CFR part 157 (including any tank vessel with double sides only or a double bottom only) in United States waters after the above date and that violators will be subject to enforcement. See link

WQIS is a financial guarantor for OPA 90 Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR) for single-hull tank vessels. Please be aware, however, that your COFR is not a permit to operate any vessel in US waters in violation of the single-hull tank vessel phase-out deadline. Additionally, any liabilities arising out of the continued operation of  a single-hull tank vessel in violation of the phase out deadline would not be covered under the WQIS Policy.  At renewal, any such vessels that are still on the vessel schedule will be deleted.

Please contact a WQIS underwriter if you have any questions regarding the single-hull tank vessel phase out or wish to advise us of any single-hull tank vessels that need to be removed from your vessel schedule.

Single-hull Tank Vessel Phase-out

Vessel owners and operators should be aware that the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) phase-out deadline for single-hull tank vessels is January 1, 2015.  This means that it will be unlawful to operate any single-hull tank vessel subject to the double-hull requirements of 33 CFR part 157 (including any tank vessel with double sides only or a double bottom only) in US waters on and after that date and that violators will be subject to enforcement.  (See http://mariners.coastguard.dodlive.mil/2014/12/05/1252014-opa-90-single-hull-tank-vessel-phase-out-finalizing-on-january-1/)

WQIS is a financial guarantor/self-insurer for OPA 90 Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR), including single-hull tank vessels.  Please be aware that your COFR is not a permit to operate any vessel in US waters in violation of the single-hull tank vessel phase-out deadline.  Tank vessel operators must, moreover, continue to maintain the evidence of financial responsibility required by 33 U.S.C. 2716 and 33 CFR part 138, subpart A, and responsible parties and their COFR guarantors will continue to be liable in the event of an OPA 90 incident involving any such vessel.

If you have any questions regarding the single-hull phase-out, please contact WQIS.

WQIS Announces Senior Leadership Change As President Richard Hobbie Sets Retirement

New York, NY – November 17, 2014
After four decades as underwriter, claims manager and Board Member, WQIS has announced the retirement of Richard Hobbie III from his position as President & CEO of the Water Quality Insurance Syndicate. The Board of Managers and Mr. Hobbie have agreed upon January 1, 2015 as his official retirement date. Rich will be available as a consultant to WQIS until Dec. 31, 2017 under the agreement.

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Changes to Alaska Financial Responsibility Requirements

Alaska State law requires vessel operators to demonstrate proof of financial responsibility for claims resulting from an oil spill.  To reflect significant increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation recently adopted an order which increases the limits of liability for vessels and offshore facilities under Alaska state law by approximately 9% across the board, effective October 1, 2014.

Changes to Liability Limits under OPA 90

To reflect significant increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the United States Coast Guard has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which, when finalized, would increase limits of liability for vessels, deepwater ports and onshore facilities under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90).
Under the current proposal, which could be finalized by end of year, OPA 90 limits of liability would increase by approximately 9% across the board. Public comments may be submitted by October 20th, 2014.

LA Notice of Defense Costs within Policy Limit

Recently Louisiana enacted the Insurance Unfair Trade Practices Act.  The new law, Act 844, states in part that every policy attaching or renewing after August 1, 2014 must include a notice indicating that the policy or contract contains defense costs within the limit of liability.

To comply with these new Louisiana statutory requirements, WQIS will now include the attached, “Notice: Defense Costs within Policy Limit” on every policy it issues.  Please contact WQIS with any questions regarding this new requirement.

WQIS to Sponsor Black & Orange Benefit for the Birds

WILMINGTON, DE – In their ongoing support of marine life conservation, WQIS is sponsoring the annual benefit for Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Trick or Tweet: Black & Orange Benefit for the Birds. This year’s event will be held on Friday, October 24, at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, DE. This sponsorship is part of a 17-year-long relationship between the two parties.

*Photography courtesy of Bob Croslin

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WQIS Releases Enhanced Policy Form for 2014 to Provide Even Broader Coverage

NEW YORK, NY –On June 16, 2014 the Water Quality Insurance Syndicate (WQIS) will be offering a new 2014 Worldwide Vessel Pollution Form. The new policy form will contain enhanced coverage that will follow the WQIS tradition of offering assureds the most comprehensive vessel pollution coverage in the industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Article by Andrew J. Garger published in Maritime Professional

Piling it on: Overlapping State and Federal Requirements for Vessel Discharges, Abandoned Vessels, and Oil Spill Liability” by Andrew J. Garger was published in the May 2014 issue of Maritime Professional. Click here to read the full article.