2010 ALMA Conference

The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. has just wrapped up another ALMA Conference.  Maybe it’s just me, but the Conference seems to get better every year.

The 2010 ALMA Conference was held at the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, from July 8 through July 11.  This was the second year in a row for St. Thomas due to the very strongly favorable response from the 2009 attendees.

For those Blog readers unfamiliar with the ALMA Conference, it is an annual event organized for key brokers, ALMA members, and invitees.  It consists of informative industry sessions offering expert presentations and commentary on issues important to the maritime industry, along with social activities, free time, and dinners providing fun, networking, and reunions with friends.  Okay.  I’ll admit it.  It’s more fun than anything else.

There were two keynote addresses at this year’s ALMA Conference. 

Dick Marler, President and CEO of Signal International, presented, “Executive Role in Safety:  Effective Practices & Procedures”.  Based on Mr. Marler’s safety record, he knows what he’s talking about.

Dr. Richard Bunch presented, “The Enemy in the Mirror – A Motivational Injury Prevention and Wellness”.  I think that we all learned some astonishing things about the human body.  Dr. Bunch was so entertaining that it took many attendees a while to appreciate how much they were learning.

The Conference also offered breakout sessions devoted to Claims, Safety, and Brokers.  These sessions were conducted by panels of AEU experts.  The Broker session involved an in depth discussion of the insurance implications of the massive cleanup efforts underway following the Deepwater Horizon environmental disaster.  It also involved a discussion of the implications of offshore wind farm developments.

The AEU Safety Awards were presented by Mike Lapeyrouse, President and CEO of The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. and Jimmy Burgin, Senior Vice President and Director of Loss Control, AEU.  Congratulations to the winners:

2009 Safety Award Winners


Large Shipyard

Austal USA, LLC 

Keppel AmFELS

Signal International, LLC 

Medium Shipyard

U.S. Coatings, Inc.

Small Shipyard

Merritt Boat & Engine Works

Superior Derrick Services, Inc.

Marine Cargo Handling

Large Marine Cargo Handling

Wallenius Wilhelmsen

Medium Marine Cargo Handling

ICS Holdco, LLC

Small Marine Cargo Handling

Hyde Shipping Corporation

Finally, Mike Adams, Chief Financial Officer for AEU, presented the State of ALMA.  

After the business meetings there was plenty of time for fun of the tropical Caribbean paradise variety, including great food and entertainment.  Throw in the flawless professional handling by AEU’s staff, and you have an enjoyable experience from start to finish.  Possibly the best ALMA Conference yet!

Longshore Act Question Number 2 – Where Can I Buy Longshore Act Insurance?

This is an important question, because there are serious consequences in the law if the maritime employer fails to meet the insurance requirement in section 932 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.   Fortunately, there’s a straightforward, uncomplicated answer.

Question:  Where can I buy the coverage?

Answer:  The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. (AEU), RSA Battle House Tower, 11 North Water Street, 32nd Floor, Mobile, AL  36602.  AEU manages a large group self-insured trust fund, the American Longshore Mutual Association (ALMA).

And, before I forget to mention it, there are also at present 348 insurance carriers authorized to write Longshore Act coverage by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Once again, it’s important to make sure that your carrier is authorized by DOL under section 932 of the Longshore Act.  We’ve previously discussed corporate officer joint and several liability, election of remedies available to the injured worker if the employer is uninsured, and possible criminal prosecution for the uninsured employer.  And if your insurance carrier is unauthorized, then you are an uninsured employer.

So, the first step is to be sure that you are dealing with an organization that is licensed by DOL.

Then, make sure that insurance coverage is in the proper form.  Your Longshore coverage will either be in the form of the regulatory required (20 C.F.R. Ch. 703) or otherwise DOL approved Longshore Act endorsement affixed to a standard state act workers’ compensation policy, or a DOL approved stand alone Longshore Act policy.  If your form of policy or endorsement does not conform to the regulatory language, or has not been approved by DOL, then you have raised an unnecessary question about your coverage.

Be sure that your insurance agent is aware of these considerations or have him call me if there are any doubts whatever. It’s very important.

Shameless self promotion alert:  In my opinion, The American Equity Underwriters, Inc., offers the best claims and loss control services in the maritime insurance market.