Maritime employees are prone to many exposures, meaning it’s especially imperative to understand those exposures and the coverages available for them. One of these is maritime employer’s liability (MEL) coverage, providing the solutions needed when your clients’ employees are injured or become ill on the job. MEL has been around for over 50 years, according to LinkedIn, and for many it is a mysterious coverage that falls somewhere in between ocean marine lines and worker’s compensation.

Maritime employer’s liability coverage is not required by any state or at the federal level, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a valuable form of coverage for certain scenarios. If your client is wondering what MEL is and if they need commercial marine coverage, here’s what you can tell them:

Who Does MEL Cover?

MEL covers employees who are on someone else’s vessels. Size does not matter in this situation. Big or small, yacht, barge, oil rig, or cruise ship, employees will always have coverage when on other vessels even though the insured is not the owner or operator of that vessel. MEL is an admiralty law that insures loss of life, injury and illness to employees classified as seamen while in service on a vessel, according to Worldwide Facilities, LLC.

MEL protects two classes of employees: employees while they are on a vessel that’s not yours and employees when they are actually on your vessel. That means that your client’s employees are protected no matter where they happen to be working. If there’s a claim under admiralty law, it is a tort-based claim that MEL can cover. While there’s no requirement to buy MEL, it’s good to still have that commercial marine coverage.

What Does MEL Cover?

MEL offers a wide variety of coverages for a handful of operations, including:

  • Marine construction
  • Drilling work
  • Seismic survey work
  • Scientific research and survey work
  • Artisan contractors working onboard vessels while underway

What Happens If You Don’t Have Coverage?

Without MEL coverage, award amounts in claims can be catastrophic and the insured must pay judicial damages, including legal fees. Maritime employers must make sure that they are aware of their exposures on the job and that their employees know them as well. They must also know their obligations to them through insurance.

About Merrimac Marine Insurance

At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.