IG Clubs published guidelines to provide the foundation for a common approach to the handling of incidents and promote a consistent response by all correspondents.
s the local “eyes and ears” of the Clubs, correspondents perform a key role looking after the interests of Clubs and their Members around the world. These Guidelines have been prepared to enable correspondents to work closely with the Clubs to continue to meet Members’ expectations for the delivery of the quality services.
Listing of correspondents
The listing of a correspondent does not represent any contractual or agency relationship between the correspondent and a Club, nor does it create a right to be included in any subsequent list. Correspondents are not agents for the Clubs and are not automatically authorised to accept service of proceedings on behalf of the Clubs or any subsidiary or associated companies. The correspondent, although listed and named by a Club, will usually act for the shipowner/charterer whose ship is entered with the Club.
Correspondents must be contactable 24 hours a day and they must keep the Club advised of changes to staff/office communications details. Correspondents should regularly check their entries on Clubs’ websites and apps to verify that the Club has the correct contact details.
Correspondents must operate to the highest ethical standards and have appropriate systems and procedures in place. It is important to note that failure to comply with these requirements could mean a correspondent risks delisting.
Clubs have best practice systems to deal with bribery, including ‘facilitation payments’, and financial crime. Those systems extend to all correspondents and service providers. Compliance with the requirements of individual Clubs’ strict bribery prevention policies and anti-bribery laws must be in addition to correspondents’ compliance with any other anti-bribery legislation that may affect them.
Correspondents should have systems in place to ensure they and their subcontractors and service providers do not contravene anti-money laundering or tax evasion legislation. Such systems should include procedures to identify their clients and ensure that transactions are legal.
Correspondents must be aware of economic and trade-related prohibitions and restrictions caused by applicable sanctions legislation imposed by States or international organisations. Such legislation may affect a Member and/or the trade they undertake either directly or indirectly and can affect the assistance Clubs are able to offer Members. In particular, Clubs may not be able to assist Members in providing a letter of undertaking or bank guarantee to secure a claim.
Correspondents should be aware that Clubs, correspondents and service providers are subject to data protection legislation4 . Correspondents will routinely receive personal data for claimants and crew members. “Personal data” refers to information about an individual, such as their name, job description, date of birth, e-mail address, mailing address or health-related data. All personal data should be handled and stored carefully and distributed securely and no more widely than necessary.
#1 First notification: A correspondent may be notified of an incident or claim from a number of sources other than the Club, such as the Member, the ship’s master, local agent, owner, charterer or directly from a claimant or the claimant’s insurer.
For urgent matters (death, serious illness and injury, pollution, ship arrest, collision, groundings and service of legal proceedings), the first notification to the Club should be made by both telephone and email to the Club. For non-urgent matters, the first notification should be sent by email. In order to minimise any delay in obtaining a response when sending an email, the correspondent should try to identify the claims team or individual and only use the Club’s general email address if this cannot be done.
Correspondents should be familiar with the risks covered by each Club, as set out in their rules. Not all Members will be covered for all these risks and so correspondents should seek confirmation of the extent of the cover from the Club. However, the correspondent is recommended not to stop dealing with matters whilst waiting to receive such confirmation.
#2 Subsequent reports: Communication by phone remains extremely important and can be a useful addition to email reporting. It is important that correspondence is documented, so correspondents should avoid exchanges via social media, including apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger. Surveyors, lawyers or other experts must be encouraged to give you, as correspondent, timely updates which add value for the Club and Member. Where possible and unless otherwise instructed, the correspondent should ensure that all information from these sources is channelled through them and that they control the case locally.
In the initial period following an incident, “no news is good news” does not apply and reports (including service providers’ reports) will be required on a frequent basis.
#3 Personal injury: Reports into personal injury incidents can by their very nature contain graphic images of death and injury. As files are often audited internally or externally by staff who may be unfamiliar with such claims, correspondents are encouraged to provide a warning on such reports stating that the report contains images which some people may find upsetting.