Working on ships has its perks, but it’s also a well-known fact that working at sea is one of the most hazardous occupations. Apart from accidents, seafarers are prone to certain serious diseases and health hazards due to the nature of onboard work, change in climatic conditions, type of cargo carried, working hours, materials being handled, epidemic and endemic diseases, personal habits etc. Although seafarers go through a strict medical test before joining a vessel, it is evident that the life of seafarers is constantly at risk while out at sea.
The application of ILO’s Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) 2006 standards for crew healthcare and insurance did create stronger and more comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world’s more than 1.2 million seafarers. Even so, crew members, both sailors and officers are often uninsured when off-duty, for accidents or sicknesses.
Moreover, although the vessel’s Protection & Indemnity insurance (P & I) covers both accidents and illnesses while on-duty, it is still not a major medical insurance plan. It is in the owner’s best interest to offer health insurance for the crew as it reduces the liability and has a positive impact on the P & I insurance loss ratio, since medical claims are filed directly with the health insurer. Professional marine crews need dependable medical coverage for both accidents and illnesses, 24/7 support and direct claim settlement worldwide, during off-duty as well.