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Edward William/Northernreef Insurance - Advice

Beth aka Lady Anne

New member
Joined
2 May 2020
Messages
5
Why don't you just go to a reputable broker for quotes for a new policy from reputable companies? Is there some reason you want to go on dealing with Edward William or need a policy for a period only up to the old renewal date? A good broker will have you insured reliably in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

Don't Edward William tell you who this new insurer is? If it's a real insurance company then you need to decide (a) whether you want to place your business with them (if real, what is their substance and reputation?) and (b) whether Edward William can be trusted to have found you cover suitable for your needs and, if you go ahead, actually to effect that cover for you with the company.

In the light of other comments, you might want to do your research and think very carefully indeed before answering (b).
We have insured our cruiser through Edward William for the last few years.

Yesterday we received the following email:

Thank you for your trust and valued business in allowing Edward William SL to obtain coverage for your vessel.
It is with regret that we must inform you that the Insurer your business was placed with has ceased trading. This means that your policy coverage with them is no longer valid.

Fortunately, we have been able to find an alternative carrier who will continue your coverage on Policy EW xxxx until renewal at a discounted additional premium of just £ 253.75

Regarding the premium you have paid for your Northernreef policy, it is too soon to provide you with any accurate commentary. It will be a few months before matters become clear with regards existing claims and unearned premium.

Are they able to do this? Is anyone familiar with this other company? Looking online and some posts seem to suggest Edward William owned Nothernreef but quite how much truth lies in this I do not know.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you
We have insured our cruiser through Edward William for the last few years.

Yesterday we received the following email:

Thank you for your trust and valued business in allowing Edward William SL to obtain coverage for your vessel.
It is with regret that we must inform you that the Insurer your business was placed with has ceased trading. This means that your policy coverage with them is no longer valid.

Fortunately, we have been able to find an alternative carrier who will continue your coverage on Policy EW xxxx until renewal at a discounted additional premium of just £ 253.75

Regarding the premium you have paid for your Northernreef policy, it is too soon to provide you with any accurate commentary. It will be a few months before matters become clear with regards existing claims and unearned premium.

Are they able to do this? Is anyone familiar with this other company? Looking online and some posts seem to suggest Edward William owned Nothernreef but quite how much truth lies in this I do not know.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you
There is such a thing as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which is designed to cover such eventualities as insurance companies not being able to meet their claims etc. Whether this extends to Spain I do not know? After the recent storms in Puerta Pollensa in which quite a number of yachts were beached, I was expecting a rise in premiums but never did I imagine that we would be left high and dry. ABTA cover the tourist industry so surely there is an organisation covering marine insurance?
Yes, I noticed that northernreef.com was "under construction" and last activity I found was around the end of August last year. I see that the domain name was first registered in 2005 and isn't due for renewal until 2021 . I think that it did change hands, perhaps 2007 onwards.

I'm guessing that the owner has taken it down for maintenance work (i.e. till things blow over) and it will pop up again to catch the unwary. I think that the insurance site has been around since at least 2015. Flabbergasted that they don't even bother to change the name from time to time.

Similar situation with northernreef.net which is also "under construction".:D

I also noticed that EdwardWilliam.com was first registered a little earlier than the NorthernReef ones and all three share the same IP location in Maidenhead (Eukhost Ltd). Just a coincidence of course.


Financial Conduct Authority give Edward William Marine Services a mention here.
 

jbweston

Active member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
656
Location
Me: Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Boat: Sweden
There is such a thing as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which is designed to cover such eventualities as insurance companies not being able to meet their claims etc. Whether this extends to Spain I do not know? After the recent storms in Puerta Pollensa in which quite a number of yachts were beached, I was expecting a rise in premiums but never did I imagine that we would be left high and dry. ABTA cover the tourist industry so surely there is an organisation covering marine insurance?
There seems to be some suggestion that the insurer (if it existed at all) was based in Uruguay, so good luck with finding and claiming on a Urugayan compensation scheme. Edward William seem to have connections with Spain and the UK so you never know, you might do better there. So if they acted on your behalf in the UK or Spain it might be worth looking into.

Also I'm not clear whether unsatisfied customers of EW were under the impression that EW was itself an insurer, or whether they were just acting for the customers as brokers. If the latter, it isn't difficult to imagine that EW will throw up its hands and say 'We did our best for you. You can't blame us that the excellent (though South American) insurer we found for you went out of business'. Not an impressive argument, but another hurdle for customers to overcome.

It's easy for me to say, but if all I'd lost was the premium, I'd put it down to experience, resolve never to deal with unregulated operators again, take out good insurance and get on with my life.
 
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JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,773
Location
SW Scotland
There is such a thing as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which is designed to cover such eventualities as insurance companies not being able to meet their claims etc. Whether this extends to Spain I do not know? After the recent storms in Puerta Pollensa in which quite a number of yachts were beached, I was expecting a rise in premiums but never did I imagine that we would be left high and dry. ABTA cover the tourist industry so surely there is an organisation covering marine insurance?
Just buy insurance from a real insurance company and thank your lucky stars that you never had to make a claim before.
 

Patrick Laine

New member
Joined
16 Mar 2018
Messages
13
We have insured our cruiser through Edward William for the last few years.

Yesterday we received the following email:

Thank you for your trust and valued business in allowing Edward William SL to obtain coverage for your vessel.
It is with regret that we must inform you that the Insurer your business was placed with has ceased trading. This means that your policy coverage with them is no longer valid.

Fortunately, we have been able to find an alternative carrier who will continue your coverage on Policy EW xxxx until renewal at a discounted additional premium of just £ 253.75

Regarding the premium you have paid for your Northernreef policy, it is too soon to provide you with any accurate commentary. It will be a few months before matters become clear with regards existing claims and unearned premium.

Are they able to do this? Is anyone familiar with this other company? Looking online and some posts seem to suggest Edward William owned Nothernreef but quite how much truth lies in this I do not know.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you
They got me too -- for €1150 paid in March. I tried to use my usual (serious) insurance company, but they would not cover the Transat I was planning. I tried others, but they would either not cover single-handed sailing, the zone I wanted to go to (Newfoundland), or were very, very expensive. (P wanted €6K). Ouch!
 
Last edited:

jbweston

Active member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
656
Location
Me: Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Boat: Sweden
They got me too -- for €1150 paid in March. I tried to use my usual (serious) insurance company, but they would not cover the Transat I was planning. I tried others, but they would either not cover single-handed sailing, the zone I wanted to go to (Newfoundland), or were very, very experience. (P wanted €6K). Ouch!
Buying insurance is like buying a parachute - with the difference you can't check it until you jump out of the plane and pull the ripcord. Splattered bodies lying round the airfield wearing unopened parachute packs from the same supplier would be a bit of a clue. As would the offer of a parachute from an unknown manufacturer priced at a fraction of what a well-known one wants to charge.

I'm sorry to hear that a number of fellow sailors were taken in but, as others say above, if you lost only the premium and didn't have an unmet claim you were lucky. Better that than facing without insurance a claim for re-imbursement of the cost of an atlantic air-sea rescue or the value of a classic schooner sunk in a collision in fog off the Grand Banks.
 

Old Harry

Well-known member
Joined
29 Sep 2017
Messages
4,009
They got me too -- for €1150 paid in March. I tried to use my usual (serious) insurance company, but they would not cover the Transat I was planning. I tried others, but they would either not cover single-handed sailing, the zone I wanted to go to (Newfoundland), or were very, very experience. (P wanted €6K). Ouch!
BUT P would have been good quality cover, your insurer didnt insure you, just took your €s & waved Bon Voyage
 

Norman_E

Well-known member
Joined
15 Mar 2005
Messages
22,409
Location
East Sussex.
What amazes me is that this outfit still trade under the same names that they have used for years, and people still get taken in despite the regular warnings on this and other websites.
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,773
Location
SW Scotland
What amazes me is that this outfit still trade under the same names that they have used for years, and people still get taken in despite the regular warnings on this and other websites.
What I find remarkable and depressing is the number of people who get taken in because they're cheap. If someone offers me something for a sixth of the market rate I feel a degree of suspicion.
 

dombuckley

Active member
Joined
11 Apr 2005
Messages
889
Location
Norfolk
Edward William and Northernreef Insurance are both owned by a chap named Malcom Skinner, based in Spain. Not to be confused with Northern Reef shipping co, based in Uruguay. The whole set-up seems very underhand, with one being sole agent and the other being sole underwriter.

Neither EW nor Northernreef is registered with the UK FCA, and the Spanish equivalent (Direccion General de Seguros) includes Northernreef on a list of companies specifically not allowed to act as underwriters and EW on another list excluded from acting as brokers.

One thing to look out for is the insurance clause on boatyard / marina T&Cs. Mine states that it should be:

"issued by an insurer authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to carry on in Great Britain or in Northern Ireland insurance business of a relevant class or who has corresponding permission under the law of another member state of the European Community. "

I would expect others have something similar. As neither Edward William nor Northernreef are authorised in the UK or their domiciled state, then anyone insuring through them may not be complying with the marina's requirements.
 

Sandy

Well-known member
Joined
31 Aug 2011
Messages
15,968
Location
On the Celtic Fringe
They got me too -- for €1150 paid in March. I tried to use my usual (serious) insurance company, but they would not cover the Transat I was planning. I tried others, but they would either not cover single-handed sailing, the zone I wanted to go to (Newfoundland), or were very, very experience. (P wanted €6K). Ouch!
I hope you are well and enjoying a glass or two of your favorite wine

Slainte
 

Patrick Laine

New member
Joined
16 Mar 2018
Messages
13
What I find remarkable and depressing is the number of people who get taken in because they're cheap. If someone offers me something for a sixth of the market rate I feel a degree of suspicion.
Fair comment. On the other hand, the fact that I have to contract with P's office in Monaco does not inspire confidence that I am getting value for money. My well-known insurer gave me full coverage last year to go to/from Iceland for just over €1000. P quoted me more than €6K to go to Newfoundland. Does that seem reasonable? I went into the Edward William coverage with my eyes open. Got burned this time. Life goes on.
 
Joined
8 Aug 2016
Messages
578
Location
On a boat
Everyone is presuming that the OP was insured comprehensively. It could have just been 3rd party insurance, so comments about a shock if needing to make a claim don't really come into it.

It could also be that the OP is sailing their boat outside of the EU (this forum is very uk weekend sailing based and opinions tend to reflect that useage).

That makes UK insurance difficult to get especially so if the OP's boat isn't valued over £100,000 or is 30 years old or more.

There is such a thing as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which is designed to cover such eventualities as insurance companies not being able to meet their claims etc. Whether this extends to Spain I do not know? After the recent storms in Puerta Pollensa in which quite a number of yachts were beached, I was expecting a rise in premiums but never did I imagine that we would be left high and dry. ABTA cover the tourist industry so surely there is an organisation covering marine insurance?
Spain would have their own system. Nothing in the UK is applicable. As for storms in Mallorca. I never understand why people think it's a good idea to spend the winter there. Every year there are multiple boats washed up on the beach in Soller. Pontoons breaking away from the marinas in Palma and so on. Wonderful place, but not the most secure during winter.
 

Sandy

Well-known member
Joined
31 Aug 2011
Messages
15,968
Location
On the Celtic Fringe
Everyone is presuming that the OP was insured comprehensively. It could have just been 3rd party insurance, so comments about a shock if needing to make a claim don't really come into it.
Really? On a dark and lonely night you t-bone a.n. other/lose a crew member overboard and they make a claim against you and the insurance company does not pay out, that is the real issue.
 

ashtead

Well-known member
Joined
17 Jun 2008
Messages
2,484
Location
Surrey and Gosport UK
There are a number of questions here and little factual info but thoughts:
1is Edward William authorised by the spanIsh regulator ? If so it will have had insurance or a compensation scheme to cover broker fraud- wOuld suggest e mailing the Spanish reguLator ;
2 is the insurer northern reef registered with Spanish regulator ?
3if neither registered it seems like a fraud by the directors so advise Spanish ombudsman and see what transpires -there is a euro ombudsman site with details of spanis\h equivalent of FOS and they do return mails
4 what’s unclear is if the op is victim of fraud or insolvency of broker and or insurer.
5 if insolvency ultimately refund might be forthcoming but takes months - nearest recent equivalent is insolvency of Icelandic I surer but ultimately premiums were refunded ;
Try a post on other fora as must be a number of other insureds who might know more;
If fraud little hope but fire off e mails to regulator,ombudsman and broker claims and see what transpires;
 

dombuckley

Active member
Joined
11 Apr 2005
Messages
889
Location
Norfolk
There are a number of questions here and little factual info but thoughts:
1is Edward William authorised by the spanIsh regulator ? If so it will have had insurance or a compensation scheme to cover broker fraud- wOuld suggest e mailing the Spanish reguLator ;
2 is the insurer northern reef registered with Spanish regulator ?
3 if neither registered it seems like a fraud by the directors so advise Spanish ombudsman and see what transpires -there is a euro ombudsman site with details of spanis\h equivalent of FOS and they do return mails
4 what’s unclear is if the op is victim of fraud or insolvency of broker and or insurer.
5 if insolvency ultimately refund might be forthcoming but takes months - nearest recent equivalent is insolvency of Icelandic I surer but ultimately premiums were refunded ;
Try a post on other fora as must be a number of other insureds who might know more;
If fraud little hope but fire off e mails to regulator,ombudsman and broker claims and see what transpires;
In answer to your questions:

1. Edward William is not an authorised broker.

2. Similarly, Northern Reef is not registered with the Spanish regulator. This is part of the web site of Direccion General de Seguros, courtesy of Google tranlate:

The Regulation and Supervision of Private Insurance (1) provides that the Direccion General de Seguros can agree advertising it deems necessary for public information in the course of entities conducting insurance business without obtaining the mandatory administrative authorization.

Furthermore, in order to better protect customers of insurance services, the need to publicize the activities carried out by entities established in other Member States of the European Economic Area, which by its name or by unclear arises definition of the operations they perform, they can mislead those with whom they hire, giving an appearance of insurer or insurance broker individuals or companies insurance brokerage even when it comes to entities not engaged in these activities.

Considering the above and taking into account the information received from the supervisory bodies of the respective States, the General Directorate of Insurance and Pension Funds has agreed to publish:

CAVEAT:I. ENTITIES REGISTERED OR NOT AUTHORIZED TO OPERATE IN SPAIN AS UNDERWRITERS.
The following legal entities are not authorized as insurance companies, nor can pursue that activity in Spain under the freedom to provide services from another Member State of the European Economic Area, or under the right of establishment through a branch in Spain (2) :

CAPITAL GROUP, SA
ALBATROSS INVEST SPA
BRITISH AMERICAN INSURANCE Ltd.
SPANISH ASSOCIATION OF ARBITRATION COURT COARBI INSTITUTIONAL
SPANISH ASSOCIATION OF ECONOMIC ARBITRATION COURT OF LAW AND EQUITY
SPANISH ARBITRATION ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT
PROMOTER SPANISH ASSOCIATION OF ARBITRATION COURT
BARKLEY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (no link or relationship with WR BERKLEY INSURANCE (EUROPE) LIMITED SUC. IN SPAIN, which is authorized insurer)
CARE COVERAGE SPORTS SL
COMPAGNIE DES Garanties DE LUXEMBOURG SA / COMPAGNIE
CORSA FINANCE LTD
DES Garanties, SA-COMPAGNIA DI CAUZIONI, SA-CAUZIONI, SA
DIMAX, DISTRIBUTIONS OF THE THIRD MILLENNIUM, SL
EUROCAUCIÓN Levante SL
EUROCAUCIÓN SL
EUROPA CAUZIONI, SpA
GUARANTEE OF EUROPEAN COMPANY LTD
PREVENTIVE MEDICINE CABINET OF SPORTS
GENERAL WARRANTY FIDI FIDI CONSORTIUM
@ REINSURANCE BROKERS INSURANCE GRAVITELL SL
GRAVITELL LIMITED
HENRY MORTIMER PLC
HUGIES ROYAL FINANCE CORPORATION
IBERSHAMROCK SL
INKORE
ITALFINANZIARIA SpA
LAUREN'S INSURANCE, Ltd.
LOPEZ INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE INSURANCE COMPANY
MEMORIAL FUNERAL INTERNATIONAL SL
MERRION REINSURANCE COMPANY, Ltd.
MINOS SPA
MUTUELLE DE STRASBOURG
MUTUELLE INTERNAZIONALE D'ASSURANCES LA PARISIENNE
NORTHERNREEF INSURANCE COMPANY
SECURE CONSTRUCTION LIMITED
NOVA INSURANCE
OVERSEAS PROPERTIES SHAMROCK LIMITEDv
SUNNY LUCKY INSURANCE
SWISS FINANCIAL CORPORATION
SWISSCARE SALES PARTNER
TEMPLETON INSURANCE LTD
TOP CLASS INSURANCE
UNION GENERAL SECURITIES SA

Similarly, none of the major credit rating agencies recognise Northernreef for Financial Strength or Credit Rating.

3. Problem of jurisdiction arises. Although based in Spain, EW / Northernreef do not seem to have any Spanish customers. Similarly, they no longer advertise in UK, relying entirely on internet sales, and thus operate outside the scope of the FCA.

4. Northernreef and EW are under the same ownership: as far as i can tell, EW placed all insurance with Northernreef. Not a legal eagle, but to my mind, even if the insurance was genuine, any "broker's fee" would be effectively fraud when the two companies are so closely related. However, the OP is not alone: many people have received similar letters, which suggests that Northernreef has genuinely ceased trading. Whether due to insolvency or just taking an opportune moment to scarper before the recession takes holt, that remains to be seen.
There is a Facebook group for those affected by the failure of the underwriter, 46 members and counting: click on Northern Reef mess
 

ashtead

Well-known member
Joined
17 Jun 2008
Messages
2,484
Location
Surrey and Gosport UK
Hi
Clearly unauthorised mediation on a cross border basis as no real doubt I suspect insurance activities. In the uk most recent case is ditigtal satellite in Supreme Court by way of example of the approach by FCA. Ultimately Spanish regulator might pursue the principals . There is no ban on brokers being souls providers of one insurers products. A number of uk brokers operate like this but seems to me it’s not authorised in Spain so illegal set up. The moral of tale is to check before dealing with any foreign broker to ensure regulated and covered by a compensation scheme but rather wise words after event . Still worth a uk resident contacting the uk financial ombudsman (Caroline wyman I believe) for their views though on situation. The FOS might contact Spainish FOS to ascertain what they are doing if anything.
 

dombuckley

Active member
Joined
11 Apr 2005
Messages
889
Location
Norfolk
The FCA have had a warning in place about EW for several years, saying they are unauthorised, and that anyone who uses them will not be covered by the Financial Ombudman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme: FCA warning . It dates from 2011, but is still extant.
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,773
Location
SW Scotland
Everyone is presuming that the OP was insured comprehensively. It could have just been 3rd party insurance, so comments about a shock if needing to make a claim don't really come into it.
And when you need to make a claim for damage to another boat, find out that your insurance was fake and the other owner comes after you personally through the courts?

It could also be that the OP is sailing their boat outside of the EU (this forum is very uk weekend sailing based and opinions tend to reflect that useage).

That makes UK insurance difficult to get especially so if the OP's boat isn't valued over £100,000 or is 30 years old or more.
We're not talking UK insurance vs foreign insurance. We're talking real insurance vs fake insurance. Anyway, Pantaenius is an international insurer with headquarters in - I think - Germany.

Spain would have their own system. Nothing in the UK is applicable.
Since Edward Williams offers insurance in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority disagrees with you.
 
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