Boat owners see insurance premiums rise after Hurricane Irma

Some insurance company premiums in Florida stayed the same, broker says

By Roy Ramos - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Hundreds of boats across the state of Florida were damage by Hurricane Irma, and now, boat owners are dealing with damage to their insurance policies.

"The hurricane put us out of business for about a week and a half," Tom Zsak, captain and owner of Top Shot Sport Fishing, said.  

Zsak, whose fishing charter company operates in Fort Lauderdale, said he has been in business since 1974.  But following the high winds, rain and damage from Hurricane Irma last September, it's his business  that took a direct hit.

"A1A was shut down. All the debris all around, no electric, no water," he said.

Now that his clients have returned and his charters are becoming more frequent, he said he's worried about the aftermath of the storm that, for him, comes in the form of increased rates from his boat owners insurance.

"I imagine it will go up, just like everything else," Zsak said.

While Zsak said he won't know for sure if his provider will raise his rates until it is time to renew in April, other boat owners said theirs has already risen.

"Some of the insurance companies' premiums went up, some of them stayed the same. I don't know any that went down," John Jarvie, vice president of Oversea Yacht Insurance, said.

Jarvie is a broker who represents dozens of insurance companies. He said that while he has seen some provider's rates increase, it's not across the board -- at least not in the state of Florida. 

"It mostly depends on the success or failure of these underwriters during the storms and how well they fared," he said.

John said for those customers who have seen their premiums rise, they still have options to search for another insurance provider.  

He recommends going with an insurance broker who can show boaters all of their options.

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