Underwater - November/December 2010 - (Page 33)

insurance Got It Covered? Adequate Insurance Coverage Is a Must for Commercial Diving Contractors FOR CERTIFIED COMMERCIAL DIVING CONTRACTORS, insuring their multimillion-dollar businesses is a lot more complicated than calling a lizard with a British accent in the hopes of saving 15 percent. In an industry that routinely uses expensive equipment and places divers in hazardous working environments, the need for adequate insurance coverage can’t be overstated. At diving companies large and small, the cost of insurance typically is the biggest expenditure other than meeting payroll, and companies that try to scrimp on the cost of their policies do so at their own peril, industry experts said. “It’s not a question of having insurance or not having insurance – the question is whether your insurance is adequate,” said Phil Newsum, ADCI’s executive director. “Insurance for a large diving contractor could be in the tens of millions (of dollars), and you can’t roll the dice. You have to eat that cost because when something does go wrong, the only thing that’s going to keep the doors open and keep things from imploding is your insurance coverage. It’s a really simple formula: You have to have it.” Peter Barbara, the vice chairman of the board at Birmingham, Ala.-based McGriff, Seibels & Williams Inc., a leading insurer of commercial diving companies, said employees who are injured on a diving project can be compensated through one or more of the following avenues: state workers’ compensation, the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act or the Jones Act. Depending on the type of work being done and the location of the job, these statutes can overlap, creating confusion for employers looking to make sure that they’re adequately covered. Workers’ compensation insurance compensates employees who are injured on the job, or their survivors in the case of a fatal accident, for things such as medical care and lost wages. In exchange, employees relinquish the right to sue employers for negligence. The Longshore Act, enacted in 1927, primarily covers dock workers and maritime workers not covered by the Jones Act. Over the years, Congress has expanded the act to cover other workers, such as those on the Outer Continental Shelf and U.S. government contractors working in foreign countries. The Jones Act, part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, allows seamen to obtain damages from their employers for the negligence of the ship owner, captain or fellow crew members. Unlike the Longshore Act and state workers’ compensation, which have clearly defined benefits such as a percentage of an employee’s weekly salary, seamen may sue their employers for damages under the Jones Act. “There’s no limit on it – it’s whatever they sue for and receive,” Barbara said of the Jones Act. “The Longshore Act is modeled mostly like a workers’ comp act. The benefits are defined. That’s a big difference. You have to insure workers against all three acts. It’s possible, but it’s expensive, and continued on pg 35 www.adc-int.org ■ www.underwatermagazine.com UnderWater 33 http://www.adc-int.org http://www.underwatermagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Underwater - November/December 2010

Underwater - November/December 2010
Contents
Board of Directors
President’s Message
Executive Director’s Message
Guessing Game
The Saturation Situation
Got It Covered?
9th Annual MATE International Student Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Competition
Innovator, Philanthropist, Diver, Teacher
Underwater Intervention 2011
New Gear
Advertisers Index
Advertiser.com
ADCI Member Company Listings

Underwater - November/December 2010

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