Situation Awareness

when Handling Claims

Situation awareness is normally used in crew resource management, and is actively discussed during NHC Loss Prevention conferences with members. However, situation awareness is likewise important in support of a ship and its Owner during a claim. Hence, NHC has adopted much of the situation awareness philosophy into our claims handling from notification to payment.

Situation awareness is what psychologists call perception or attention, or simply “knowing what is going on around you, in order to figure out what to do”.  It means continuously monitoring the environment, noticing what is going on and detecting any changes in the environment. This way you are getting an overview with the aim of being able to act proactively rather than reactively in a given situation. Situation awareness is important for safety, poor situation awareness is the main cause of many accidents.

The various steps in a claim require different sets of skills, tools and interdisciplinary knowledge. It is the claims handler whos is in charge of managing all aspects, however as claims are getting more and more complex there is also an increased need for experts and systems to handle the claim. NHC is therefore developing both system and interdisciplinary knowledge to make sure that we are ready to handle all aspects of claims.

On system development we have developed quick notification via our Emergency Web Application (EWA) in addition to constantly developing our operational intelligence (OPINTEL). Both products are in place to ensure that we get the facts right from the beginning and shared amongst stakeholders in an efficient manner.

On the specification and tendering process, we have, together with shipyards and other specialist developed emergency specification for quick evaluation of the severity of the damage. Additionally we have more in-depth systems to make a full specification and support in the tendering process. This allows us to have the best possible situation awareness when evaluating repair options.

During the life of a claim, there can be an enormous number of invoices. To keep track of all invoices, currency and interests we have developed the NHC Owner Statement of Claim (OSOC). This allows both the Owner and Underwriter to have a very good overview of recoverable items and it forms the basis of a final adjustment, leading to a payment.

Finally, to track all elements in a claim NHC has a tailor made insurance program developed by Insurance Technology Solutions, a subsidiary to NHC. The system is called INS 2000 and is today in use by other underwriters, brokers and owners. The system supports the claims handler in keeping his situation awareness through all the process of a claim, concerning documentation, assessments, writing of reports and payments.

Claims handling is teamwork as the various steps in claim requires various knowledge. E.g. operational skills in an early phase of a casualty, technical skills when doing the spec, tender and repair process, legal when evaluating contracts for salvage and repair contracts with yards, and adjusting experts to deal with complex cases such as cross liability.

All aspects controlled and lead by the claims handler, who has to ensure good management and communication, utilizing and adjusting the interdisciplinary teams and systems as required to adapt to the various phases of a claim and its respective Owners. We like to think that the art of good leadership of a claim is like good leadership on board – you need good situation awareness - knowing what is going on around you in order to figure out what to do.


11. Jun. 2015