20 Jun Gowrie Group Returns as Organizational Sponsor

Gowrie Group returns for a second year as an organizational sponsor of RIMTA. Their support will enhance our communications, our key industry and networking events, and RIMTA Future’s first community-outreach project.

The largest independent marine insurance group in the United States, Gowrie Group has a longtime association with RIMTA. Steve Prime of Gowrie Group served on the RIMTA Board for 24 years, helping to shape the vision of our organization.

What has always impressed us here at RIMTA is how hands-on the people at Gowrie are in our industry: you’ll see them along the docks, on the racecourse, in boatyards, and at marine companies; you’ll meet them at events run by our organization or presenting at conferences run by prominent organizations such as US SAILING or YBAA. Their team knows and understands our business and our sport, based on a passion we all share: being on the water.

In our June feature story, we look inside Gowrie Group—at what they offer to marine businesses, how they support our community, and what they see as risks that are emerging as our planet and our digital society undergo rapid change.

DEVELOPING INSURANCE PRODUCTS WITH A SAILOR’S VIEW

Back in the ‘70s, the yacht club in Connecticut that Carter Gowrie was active in was having trouble getting insurance. Being an avid sailboat racer and involved in the insurance industry, he knew yacht clubs were organizations with a unique set of risks—but he believed they were a good safe, risk. He concluded it should be easier for yacht clubs to obtain comprehensive insurance, and to meet this need, he started a program that has become one of Gowrie’s signature marine-insurance programs: the Burgee Program. Today, Gowrie Group insures over half (1,000+) of the yacht clubs and community sailing organizations across the United States.

At Gowrie Group, you will find that a large percentage of the company’s employees have marine backgrounds–from former sailmakers to marina employees, international sailing champions, and avid fisherman.  The company’s staff of over 175 people are located in offices throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic.

The company today provides insurance solutions to a wide range of companies, non-profits, and individuals, across all sectors. In the marine sector, the company offers insurance for marine businesses, sailing organizations, boats & yachts, crew medical, a suite of US SAILING programs, and even coverage for historic Naval ships. They also offer insurance solutions for all types of businesses and individuals: employee benefits, life & health, safety & loss prevention, home & auto, coastal homes, flood insurance, professional & executive liability, even equine insurance—to name a few.

WORKING WITH MARINE EXPERTS

According to Gowrie’s VP of Marketing Whitney Peterson, the process of working with Gowrie Group always starts with a conversation to understand and identify a client’s needs.  In the marine sector in particular, the company’s expertise and their relationships with our community run deep.  As Gowrie Group Director of Operations Barbara Cooper says, “We speak boat.”  

Says Cooper: “We get to know each business and what they do. The challenge of any insurance agent is to uncover events that are outside the norm and figure out whether or not there is an exposure that might not be covered by a normal insurance program … We are not a barbershop on Main Street by any stretch of the imagination: working with us is a highly consultative process.”

A lot of that consultation, explains Cooper, is having a marine expert ask the right questions. Those questions will also delve into a client’s future plans: “If a company has big plans going down the road, we might uncover something that needs special treatment in terms of their insurance program.”

Another aspect of how Gowrie works with clients is educating them about safety through seminars and written content, some of which will appear in RIMTA’s newsletter. “Oftentimes, a company may not know to look at a certain aspect of their operation as a safety risk—until we point that out to them,” says Peterson. “We feel it is our responsibility to make the companies we work with safer, so they don’t have accidents or losses to begin with.”

As a marine business, if you are already working with Gowrie, you are benefitting from their marine knowledge, insurance expertise and sound advice.   

CARRYING A TRADITION FORWARD

Gowrie Group Marine Insurance Specialist Mark Gargula is carrying a company tradition forward by working closely with RIMTA, just as Steve Prime did for over two decades. Gargula is a young professional who is active with RIMTA Future and its Speaker Series. These events feature industry leaders who speak to young professionals about their career in the industry.

“It’s interesting to hear these professionals’ stories about how they got started and what advice they have for young professionals like myself,” said Gargula. “These RIMTA Future gatherings are also good sounding boards and a chance to get to know people in the business.”

RIMTA Future will be creating a community-outreach project this year, thanks to Gowrie’s sponsorship support.

EMERGING RISKS 

Nothing on our planet or in our society is static – and along with change comes new or exaggerated risks. According to Barbara Cooper, one of those areas is how digital our lives and our businesses have become.

“We all have computer networks, and there are moving and developing laws that govern how you are supposed to protect the information in your system,” says Cooper. Gowrie started talking with their clients years ago about cyber security. But when many clients heard the word cyber, they didn’t think it applied to them.

Small and mid-sized companies are now waking up to that fact that they need network protection – and  many are looking to Gowrie to help them navigate the risks.

Extreme weather events have also brought recent changes to flood insurance regulations. This is another area where Gowrie has expertise and helps many coastal marine businesses and homeowners. According to Cooper, in some cases Gowrie Group has needed to advocate for clients with lenders who are not as clear on the practical applications of the regulations and the risks.

You can learn more about Gowrie Group at their website. If you are interested in starting a conversation with one of the company’s marine experts, contact Mark Gargula, Gowrie’s Marine Insurance Specialist (markg@gowrie.com, 860-399-3677, 860-391-7371).