Marine warranty surveyors form association, headed by an AmericanAug 28, 2013 01:36 PM
Courtesy Steven Weiss
Steven Weiss, based in Houston, is the inaugural chairman of the International Association of Marine Warranty Surveyors. The association was created in April.
As offshore oil and gas development projects expand worldwide, so does the need for accredited marine warranty surveyors who can provide a consistent and robust level of service.
Marine warranty surveyors conduct independent third-party reviews and approvals of high-value and/or high-risk marine construction and transportation projects. Marine warranty surveyors act either on behalf of underwriters and their assureds, or for self-insured clients.
In many marine insurance policies, there are “warranty clauses.” The marine warranty surveyor ensures that the insured fulfills the warranty clause in the policy. This may entail a document review or full on-site attendance.
The warranty surveyor reviews trip-in-tow surveys, an inspection of a tug and barge prior to a voyage to confirm that — as best can be ascertained — the vessels are ready. Offshore oil and gas operations normally entail a complete review of the loading, transit, installation and hookup of the platform, semi-submersible, etc. Other examples include the review and possible attendance for an offshore pipelay, floatover, heavy-lift transit and any operation that is warranted in the insurance policy.
To meet this need, the International Association of Marine Warranty Surveyors (IAMWS) was formally launched at Lloyd’s of London in April. The organization’s first chairman is an American.
Around 120 representatives from the energy insurance market, together with brokers and oil company representatives, attended a seminar to announce the aims and objectives of the new association.
IAMWS will assess and provide accreditation to practicing marine warranty surveyors from across the world to ensure they operate to an acknowledged minimum professional standard and code of ethics.
“This new association will give the insurance sector additional confidence that the marine warranty surveyors attending operations are equipped to do the job that is required,” said IAMWS Chairman Steven Weiss. Weiss is vice president of marine engineering at Liberty International Underwriters in Houston.
IAMWS offers accreditation to individual practicing marine surveyors, not to companies. Accreditation results in the title “Certified Marine Warranty Surveyor” (CMWS). To qualify, surveyors need to demonstrate that they are capable of performing to a set of minimum standards. They will undergo testing and continuing professional development and be subject to association rules.
The formal accreditation application is reviewed by a screening committee, Weiss said. If accepted, the applicant undergoes online ethics and qualifications testing. Continuing education is a key ingredient to make sure members keep current in their practice and knowledge.
Typical marine warranty surveyors include master mariners, marine engineers, naval architects and offshore structural engineers. Work ranges from back-office functions to on-site attendance during operations.
There are three accreditation levels — Apprentice, Associate and Certified Marine Warranty Surveyor. It is expected that candidates will have at least five years’ experience before they apply for CMWS certification. The first testing will take place this year.
Certification is limited to practicing marine warranty surveyors. However, there are plans to extend this to include rig moves, rig location review and heavy-lift operations. Potentially, an estimated 800 marine warranty surveyors globally could apply for membership.
IAMWS will “provide a platform to enhance the dialogue and develop a much closer relationship between surveyors, underwriters and other stakeholders in the offshore energy sector,” Weiss said.
IAMWS will present at an International Union of Marine Insurance event and the Houston Marine Insurance Seminar in September.