The Evolution of Yacht Insurance: Steering Ahead with Aaron Jago at Tysers
Tysers Divisional Director, Aaron’s journey is a testament to the dynamic and exciting nature of the insurance industry. His focus on yacht hull business has not only shaped his career but also contributed significantly to the growth and success of Tysers Insurance. In this conversation, Aaron shares his experiences, insights, and aspirations, providing a unique perspective on the insurance needs of yacht owners and the evolving landscape of the maritime insurance industry.
Can you take us through your career journey in the insurance industry, starting from your early days as a placing broker at RFIB (now Tysers)? How did your focus on yacht hull business shape your path to where you are today?
I was fresh out of University and had no idea what I wanted to do, although I had spent the summer working for an insurance company in Kent. I landed a role at RFIB (Now Tysers) in 2008, initially working across several classes of marine business, including Commercial Hull and Cargo. I loved the buzz of working at a city-based Lloyd’s brokerage, travelling and meeting new people, which is a big part of the job and something I still enjoy to this day. Within a few months of my time at Tysers, I was asked to assist the yacht team during some holiday absence. Back then, we were a small team of 4 people; now, we are over 10. I enjoyed my time with the yacht team, and when asked if I wanted a permanent role, I jumped at the chance. Initially, I was desk broking insurance Hull and Machinery contracts with overseas markets, but shortly after, I was also spending most of my day in Lloyd’s of London for face-to-face negotiations. The yachts we were insuring were getting bigger and bigger, and the rest they say is history!
With extensive experience handling yacht hull and machinery, professional crew and P&I risks, and new build superyacht construction, you’ve worked on insurance products for many of the world’s largest superyachts. Can you share a memorable project or client engagement that stands out to you?
We were recently recommended to an Owner’s Representative and Build Captain of a 50m+ construction project. We arranged all of the insurances, including the Builder’s risk, pre-delivery liabilities, crew coverages, and the in-commission use following her launch. Halfway through the construction, they had to close the shipyard and move the hull to a new facility. So, we arranged some cargo coverage and towing too, along with assisting our client with surveyors. It was all a bit touch and go! I remember running around Lloyd’s of London getting the insurance lined up, as the Captain was on the phone chasing for the confirmation that they were going to be covered. The client was very happy when we completed under a very strict deadline. This experience certainly enhanced my capabilities in handling superyacht construction insurance, and on many occasions since, we have been able to identify additional exposures to an owner and offer them products that would not usually be covered under a standard builder’s risk policy.
As a leader within Tysers, how does your role as part of the Marine Superyacht practice contribute to the company’s commitment to serving yacht owners and the industry? What unique expertise or insights do you bring to the team?
Service is key. We have a large and experienced superyacht team at Tysers, which enables us to act quickly in the event of a claim and turn around urgent mid-term changes and new quotes. I understand that insurance is often the last thing on everyone’s agenda, so quite often, our deadlines are tight. Our team now has well over 200 years of experience in handling superyacht insurance business, so we have one of the largest service propositions in the market. At Tysers, we take great pride in our client service, and we are fortunate to enjoy very strong client retention. We are quite often asked to assist yacht owners with other insurances that fall outside of our yacht market, such as Property, Helicopters, Business Jets, Fine Art, etc., and are fortunate to have highly experienced teams within Tysers who can service a demanding and multi-class client base.
In terms of my own expertise, I have spent a lot of time onboard superyachts with owners and crew and visited some of the largest yacht shipyards and repair facilities in the world. So, being on the frontline has allowed me to see the yachting industry from many different perspectives. I have also handled a variety of claims, ranging from crew incidents, collision, fire, engine failure, grounding, and windstorm losses. This experience has certainly shaped the way in which we would advise clients on risk mitigation.
Tysers has a strong reputation in the insurance market for its specialised services. How do you and your team ensure a personalised and comprehensive approach to meeting the insurance needs of yacht owners? Can you share an example of a challenging client case that you successfully handled?
We are extremely responsive to clients’ needs and specialise in providing innovative and creative products tailored to individual requirements. Not all yacht owners want a typical “off the shelf” policy. Also, as risk evolves, we need to ensure that our clients have low exposure to an uninsured loss. So, we listen carefully to a client’s requirements and always act in their best interests. We have worked with owners who have several yachts within their fleet, so we have been able to package these up under one policy with one or multiple insurers at their request.
A common challenge is pricing, and we always advise our clients that what may appear to be a cheaper solution often isn’t the best option. For example, an owner with a clean claims history might find that an insurer will refuse to renew their policy if they suffer a claim, or at a much higher premium, or that the claims service was slow to respond.
In your role, you bring international business into London, with a focus on locations such as the USA and Europe, particularly Florida and Monaco. How do you navigate the complexities of international markets and build relationships with clients and (re)insurance partners across different regions?
We have worked with some of our yacht clients for 20+ years, and key to that retention is our service and the strong relationships and partnerships that we have with our underwriters. Having a large portfolio and substantial premium placed in the market works to the advantage of our clients, especially when having complex discussions with underwriters and leveraging a competitive policy. We aim for the highest levels of transparency with our markets (both in London and Overseas) and respect the underwriting capacity available to us. By building trusting relationships, we ensure that underwriters want to deploy their capacity with us, which fundamentally benefits our clients. Tysers also has offices and representatives in locations around the world to provide risk management solutions at a global level. In terms of Florida and Monaco, these are huge superyacht hubs, so yes, we get plenty of competition from local markets. However, our underwriters have significant expertise and capabilities in these regions, which is attractive to our overseas client base.
Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations as a maritime insurance professional at Tysers? How do you see Tysers’ Marine Superyacht practice evolving to meet the changing needs of the industry, and how do you plan to contribute to its success?
Tysers has gone through a really exciting transition in the last 12 months following our acquisition by the AUB Group. AUB is one of the fastest-growing insurance brokers in the world right now, and as an Australian firm, we are seeing new yacht opportunities open up for us in this region and beyond. Our Yacht team has experienced significant growth over the last few years, and this is something we aim to continue by creating new products for a fast-changing yacht industry. In terms of my own goals and aspirations, I am working on some really interesting projects right now which I hope will raise our profile further in the yachting industry.