Friday, April 13, 2018
Bequia 2018 - More Thievery - Insurance Fraud
We got an odd email from someone we do not know saying our annual yacht insurance premium may not have been paid and could we please provide proof of payment. Weird. We paid by check last fall. We sent this person proof of the cancelled check. We got a follow up email. "Your payment was not forwarded on by your agent, Kent Urbine - Pegasus Group, to the underwriters. Please contact me immediately." WTF?!
Tom called the guy that sent the email, William (Bill) Coates with Offshore Risk Management. It seems his group took over servicing of our agent's files and that some premiums were not forwarded on to the underwriters aka STOLEN (my wording not Bill's) and they were trying to sort through which customers had been effected. He said we needed to pay again and ASAP to get re-instated. The more questions we asked, the more questions we had. We tried to go direct to the underwriters to pay them. No go. They referred us back to ORM and Bill. We were not able to establish the relationship and timeline between ORM and our thieving agent to our satisfaction and the clock was ticking.
Instead, we called yacht insurance agent and guru Al Golden at IMIS, a well known and established agent and company. We had been with them originally when we bought sv Honey Ryder. He had not heard of Kent Urbine, or the Pegasus Group, or the theft of premiums. He quickly cut to the chase - "First thing we have to do is get you insured." He made it easy by becoming our agent of choice and thus getting us re-instated with Yachtline for the same policy, at the same price. Whew!
We did have to pay again but we were insured. It was a stressful week of trying to negotiate who, what, when, where and the terminology of the insurance industry. Luckily, fellow cruiser Laura used to sell commercial insurance in FL. She helped us understand, do internet research and gave us ideas. Thank you Laura!! All the while, the Caribbean winds picked up and were screaming through the anchorage. Boats were dragging and chartboats were parking WAY too close. It was a nerve wracking week! But we got through.
It turns out we are not the only ones the agent stole from. He stole from other clients as well. Not everyone, just some. Lucky us. I have located a few other victims through Women Who Sail Facebook group and a few others. We have all be in contact, sharing information and generally supporting one and other through this frustrating experience of being ripped off.
We have filed a complaint in Florida where we sent the check. We got a case number and an investigating officer immediately. Tom has communicated back and forth with him several times. We don't expect to get our money back. It would be great if we did but more than likely, not. We want to see Kent Urbine go to jail for what he has done. At the very least, he should be fined and lose his license. We believe he is still out there acting as an agent. Not kewl!
As with everything in life, this has been a learning experience. We are now asking more questions and requesting additional documentation and proof on certain things than we did before. It's never dull aboard sv Honey Ryder, that is for sure.