By: Harry Diamond
Executive Consultant – Water Quality Insurance Syndicate
When I joined the Water Quality Insurance Syndicate in 1996 as Claim Manager, we were already an affiliate member of AWO and had been for years. 1996 was a busy year for claims at WQIS with three catastrophic losses that exceeded our limit so I did not have much of a chance to delve into the ramifications of our membership.
As I continued to process claims, over 4,000 of them in my career at WQIS, I gradually began to learn the names of our assureds, but only in the somewhat unfortunate context of an ongoing claim and dealing with people who were relative strangers.
In traveling with our Underwriters, I gradually began to meet some vessel owners and carriers, but usually in the offices of their broker in the process of what can only be characterized as a sales pitch.
WQIS at the time was just beginning to grow the relationship with AWO, and so I did not get to attend my first meeting until about 2006.
What an eye-opening experience! Here in one meeting were many of our clients speaking openly about matters that deeply concerned them. I could meet with them and have a conversation without appearing to be competing for their business or nosing about in their claim histories.
Thus began a long and, for me, richly rewarding relationship. I began to go to meetings regularly, attending national and regional sessions and participating in the annual Barge In, a meeting with members of Congress in order to discuss matters of vital importance to the tug and barge industry.
I got a chance to see firsthand the contributions that Affiliate Members could make to help AWO during the Macondo spill of 2010. It was interesting to note that, during a real crisis, the affiliate membership gave AWO some elasticity to give more than adequate coverage for a multiplicity of complex issues.
During my time participating in AWO, it was a pleasure to work with the always professional and talented staff. I like to think that I have made many friends with present and past staff members. I also had the opportunity to form friendships with some of the other members which exist outside any insured/insurer relationship.
It seems to me, in retrospect, that any company that depends on or does business with the tug and barge industry in the U.S. can’t pass up the opportunity presented by affiliate membership in the American Waterways Operators.
At Water Quality Insurance Syndicate (WQIS), we provide water pollution liability insurance from the smallest to the largest fleets for vessel operators worldwide, providing coverage for more than thirty thousand (30,000) vessels, pollution guaranties for over three thousand five hundred (3,500) vessels, and have cleaned up over five thousand (5,000) spills in our history. WQIS offers insurance on behalf of twelve (12) subscribing insurance companies in the Marine Insurance Market (see Subscribers for details).