A crash on the Ohio River that resulted in an injured deckhand sounds as if it could be a simple maritime case. This isn’t the situation when there was no insurance policy for the employer of the deckhand covered the deckhand’s injuries.
In Stevana Towing Inc. v. Atlantic Specialty Ins. Co., the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently upheld a Pennsylvania district court’s ruling that none of the three policies that the employer had put in place offered protection for the claims which highlights the necessity for the owners of vessels to make sure the insurance is secure, particularly when agreements are made that allow the use of a vessel which isn’t controlled by the company.
In this particular instance the unwritten agreement between owners of vessels meant an injury-related claim was made due to coverage gaps and could have been prevented with well-written contracts that will have closed the gaps. From the practical and commercial viewpoint of both the owner of the vessel and the operator, this arrangement could make sense, but ultimately it was a sign that there was none of the insurance protection for the claim for personal injury.
Stevanna Towing, Inc. (“Stevanna”) included in its the form of three marine insurance policy which included: an Protection & Indemnity Policy (“P&I”) as well as an Marine General Liability Policy (“MGL”) as well as An excess Liability Policy (“Excess”).
- The P&I Policy only provided coverage for the time that Stevanna was performing “as proprietor of this vessel.” The policy’s schedule contained only two vessels. It it also contained an automatic acquisition clause which extended coverage to all vessels which Stevanna bought, acquired or chartered.
- MGL Policy MGL Policy provided coverage to Stevana in the event of injuries to property and bodily harm but did not include employer liability coverage with the exception of an exception to this exclusion if Stevana was liable under an insurance contract.
- The Excess Policy provided increased limits to each of P&I Policy as well as the MGL Policy. P&I Policy and the MGL Policy.
Furthermore, Stevanna also operated another tugboat (not listed on the schedule) that was utilized to transport barges that were owned by the same company and also as a tug boat which could be used by Stevana for her personal purposes in lieu of this. The agreement was reached in a written contract and was later alleged to have been on the same schedule in the charter for another vessel owned by the same owner, which was signed by written form.
After a crash the deckhand claimed that he was thrown from the tug owned by Stevana however, he did not fall in the plan of action to a barge with an empty hopper. The dispute was resolved by Stevana however it was seeking the reimbursement of its insurers as well as others who sued and filed lawsuits against insurers for the additional insurance status.
The P&I insurer refused coverage due to the fact that the tug boat wasn’t scheduled. In the course of a dispute over procedural issues and a final ruling by the district court, the court decided it was not the case that either P&I Policy, nor the MGL Policy, nor the Excess Policy provided coverage to the employer , and this did not negate others’ claims of coverage due to alleged extra insureds.
Third Circuit ruled that the Third Circuit held that the tugboat in question wasn’t listed in the list, and was not “chartered” with Stevana in a way it was not covered under the clause of automatic acquisition. was in effect in the case, noting that “the word “charter” can not apply to every situation where someone is borrowing the vessel” and also that the contract in this case was not an “charter.” P&I coverage is only applicable to the policyholder’s obligation “as as the owner of the vessel.” In the Third Circuit, it was determined that Stevana’s arrangement Third Circuit held that whatever the agreement between Stevana and the tugboat’s owner the case, it was not one that was bareboat because the owner paid for fuel. Stevana didn’t consider itself to be the owner. Stevana did not have control over the vessel, and the agreement was able to be terminated at any time. The court also noted that an Stevana employee was not driving the tugboat during the time of the accident.
It is important to note that the MGL Policy did not provide protection because it did not cover any claims of employer liability. This exclusion did not apply since the contract with Stevana as well as the operator of the tugboat did not constitute an insurance contract. It did not have the express provision of assuming risk of injury from another party. It was noted that the Third Circuit noted it is established that the “promise to indemnify other parties in the event of the third party’s tort liability is a remarkable commitment, and should be explicitly stated inside the document.”
The court had ruled that since neither the P&I as well as the MGL policy covered it. Therefore, it was obvious that the excessive policy was not covered either as it just increased the limits.