Monday, June 7, 2010

Brokers and Jokers

One of the current themes running on the Bumfuzzle blog is a frustration with yacht brokers. Pat and Ally are incredulous following their dealings with brokers on both coasts: phone calls and emails not returned, a lack of knowledge about listed boats (and an unwillingness to pursue answers to buyer questions), and poor representations of listed boats (scant pictures and descriptions).
I’ve seen hundreds of examples of poor listings in the last few years, but I have no experience with bad brokers. (This is probably because I never contacted a broker representing a poor listing.) For this Fuji 40 purchase, the listing was very complete and the broker responsive. In fact, when I asked for a few specific additional pictures of the boat, they were posted to Yachtworld the next day. When I sent a list of 35 questions—most about the vessel’s history and performance—the broker worked with the buyer to get comprehensive answers within a few days.
When I bought the first Del Viento in 1993, the world was pre-internet and all of my broker interactions were face-to-face. The broker with whom I finally ended up doing business was awesome; she was very low-pressure and allowed me plenty of time aboard, alone, to check out the boat. I ended up living aboard in a slip adjacent to the brokerage for years, and I still maintain a friendship with the broker.

However...yacht insurance brokers seem to be a different breed. To date, my experience with yacht insurance brokers is poor, echoing the Bums current experience with yacht brokers. Aren’t we in a deep recession? These insurance brokers all seem to be mom and pop shops. Are they swamped with business? The companies I’ve contacted all advertise in Latitude 38, all claiming to insure cruising boats in Mexico. Yet, many of my emails requesting quotes go unanswered. Of the few who did initially respond, to request a copy of the survey and additional info, only a couple followed through with actual quotes. Of these, only one answered my follow-up questions.

It will be easy to choose an insurance broker.

It makes no sense.


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