Marine Surveyor Ethics Violations

Lloyds of London syndicates or any insurance company require information that they can point to when denying an insurance claim. Our claim denial was based on false statements and suppositions in a report written by John Koon and witnessed by Larry Montgomery. We also believe that Larry Montgomery withheld exculpatory evidence. It is our belief that they are both guilty of marine surveyor ethics violations defined by the organizations (ACMS & NAMS) they belong to.

We decided to pursue professional consequences against both of them. Hopefully, they will be held accountable for their actions which has caused us to experience this unjustified nightmare .

John Koon’s Ethics Violations

We have multiple credibility issues with John Koon. He is the surveyor who wrote the “damage” survey filled with false statements and unsupported assertions. He lists the following memberships on his bio/CV

However, his name is not on the SAMS website. Per an individual at SAMS he has never been a member of SAMS. This is a significant mis-representation of credentials. We identified this (and other) credibility issues to ProSight and Hill Dickinson. They apparently ignored them because they continued to accept the findings in his report.

Below is the Code of Ethics for members of CMS, which John is a member of.


Marine Surveyor Ethics Violations - ACMS Code of Ethics

We believe that the phrase “honest appraisal” exposes him to a marine surveyor ethics violation due to the numerous factually incorrect things stated in the report he created.  Therefore, we filed a violation complaint on the ACMS website on John Koon.

We contacted the ACMS after the filing. They received the complaint, but their expulsion procedures are not based on the significance of the violation. They follow the “three strike rule” and  would not disclose the number of violation complaints he has so far.

NAMS emblem which should represent a high ethical standardLarry Montgomery – Ethics Violations

Larry was the Lloyd’s agent assigned to our claims. He is also a NAMS (National Association for Marine Surveyors) surveyor

The NAMS Code of Ethics is broader than the ACMS. They have a grievance procedure. The procedure involves a board who reviews the complaint and makes a decision based upon the facts and evidence presented.

Marine Surveyor Ethics Violations - NAMS Code of Ethics

Examples of Larry’s Ethics Violations

We believe that Larry has violated the code on numerous counts. Here are some examples.

  • We believe he was not truthful when he told us that the purpose of the survey by John Koon was to “determine a best practice repair“.  The report that we received later stated the purpose was to determine the cause of the dismasting.  We were not in attendance during the survey, as a result of Larry’s mis-representation. A flagrantly erroneous survey resulted which was the basis for the claim denial.
  • We believe Larry was not truthful and objective when he allowed the factually incorrect survey report be turned in. There were basic things within the report that any surveyor should have recognized as an error. Especially one who was on site when the survey was done.
  • We believe Larry was not being truthful and objective when stating to us that he concurred with our surveyor’s findings and would report his findings. These findings were in direct contradiction to the John Koon report. To the best of our knowledge did not report his revelations and admissions to ProSight, LJJ Associates or Blue Water Insurance. Larry withheld exculpatory evidence
  • We believe he was not being truthful and objective from the beginning when he repeatedly told us that we would be made whole again by the insurance company. He should have known he did not have that authority to state the things he did. HIs statements caused us to have mis-placed trust.
  • We believe Larry took a position contrary to his own knowledge or opinion for a direct gain. By providing reports that they used to deny our claim and withholding evidence, he promoted his likelihood of getting future business with ProSight, LJJ Associates and Blue Water Insurance.

As a result we filed a complaint with NAMS and are waiting to hear from them.


FOS’s Authority to Investigate Complaint

Waiting on Lloyd's againToday is 7 days after the deadline the FOS gave the Society of Lloyd’s to respond and 21 days since the letter was sent by David Northcott of the FOS. David asked if the Society of Lloyd’s agreed that the FOS had the authority to review our complaint. The FOS wants to proceed but they want the SOL to agree so there are no problems after the investigation and decision.

ProSight originally told us to go to the Indiana Department of Insurance  if we disagreed with the denial. However, the IDOI said that they have no authority to investigate this complaint.

LJJ Associates, and ProSight are regulated by the FCA. Therefore, we believe that the FOS should be able to investigate our complaint. Otherwise, no organization is overseeing them.


One nice thing about putting this blog together has been revisiting documents and websites that you haven’t looked at in a while. We never imagined this specific road block and hadn’t looked at the documents from this perspective. Therefore we were looking at them with a different perspective. Below is what we found.

Lloyd’s Complaint Process

Lloyd's of London Complaint Options (UK or non-UK)The Lloyd’s Complaints page identifies the complaint processing procedures based upon your location and role. Our logical choice is “Lloyd’s policyholders outside the UK. How to make a complaint“.





The “outside the UK” page it states “Lloyd’s is currently introducing complaint handling processes for International policyholders and where possible complaints will be handled in line with local regulations.  Where no local regulations exist, complaints will be handled in line with UK principles and standards.”  That’s us! But we need to make sure what that process is!


Lloyds US Complaints Handling:

Lloyds US Complains Handling - FCA Authority

On the Lloyd’s US complaints handling page. it states “Lloyd’s arrangements for international complaints are intended to allow for the oversight of complaints handling, consistent with the regulatory expectations of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), whilst allowing flexibility for managing agents in the way they handle complaints in accordance with local rules.”  So essentially they are giving the agents (ProSight) the latitude to choose. 

However, at the bottom of that page it links to a page Market Bulletin Y5019 (International Complaints Handling: USA). Within the document it states “The new arrangements are being implemented commencing from 1 January 2017 on the renewal of each binding authority or placement.”  Our policy begin April 1 2016. Therefore it appears that we should be processed as a UK policyholder would.

Lloyd’s UK Complaint Process:

The Complaints by Lloyd’s UK Policyholders is described below:

Lloyds Complaints Process for UK policy holders - FOS Authority

If we should be processed in that manner then it appears that the next step is Stage 2. The Society of Lloyd’s should review our complaint.

FOS Authority?

Lloyd’s acknowledges the authority of the FOS to review all complaints in the “Code for Underwriting Agents: UK Personal Lines Claims & Complaints Handling” dated June 2016.

International Complaints

The procedures set out in this Code apply to complaints that arise from UK policies of insurance. Lloyd’s operates separate arrangements for non-UK policyholder complaints. While managing agents must comply with the local rules of any territory where a policy is written, the jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service is wide and covers firms for all activities carried on from an establishment maintained by it in the United Kingdom (see DISP 1.1.3 & DISP 2.6.1R).

The Financial Ombudsman Service may therefore have jurisdiction over complaints made by eligible complainants in all territories where Lloyd’s underwriters write business. However, the Financial Ombudsman Service has the discretion to dismiss complaints without a consideration of the merits where the complaint is or would be more suitable to be dealt with by a comparable independent complaints scheme or dispute resolution process (DISP 3.3.4(7) & (10)). This would include any equivalent overseas scheme in the jurisdiction where the complainant is based.”

Therefore, since the FOS has the authority and there is not overseas scheme, it would make sense that we proceed.


  • The new US policy holder procedure didn’t go into effect until policies written starting January 1, 2017. Our policy was written April 1, 2016
  • Lloyd’s acknowledges that when there are no local regulations (which should include the IDOI stating that they have no jurisdiction), it should be reviewed by the FOS.
  • The Lloyd’s underwriting handbook specifically recognizes the FOS’s jurisdiction over all complaints regardless of the territory.

It appears that the only question is whether we should go thru Stage 2 of the UK process or just go right into the FOS process.

Fingers Crossed - AuthorityWe shared our learnings with David Northcott and Daniel Crockford. We don’t want to assume that they are aware of these. We hope that this will move along soon.


We Are The Society of Lloyd’s and You’re Nobody

The Society of Lloyd's brashly ignores FOSThe deadline of Nov 22 came and went without any word from David Northcott from the FOS. He’d requested a response from The Society of Lloyd’s by that date on whether they believed the FOS has authority to investigate the non-UK complaint. 

We sent an email to David at the end of his work day on the 23rd and he immediately responded stating:

“Lloyd’s were chased up on the 21 November 2017 asking for a response to my letter of 8 November 2017. They were originally asked to respond by 22 November 2017.

I will continue to chase them. Once I have news I will update you again.”

Frustrated by a lack of response of The Society of Lloyd’s and now to even the FOS, we contacted our UK solicitor Daniel Crockford to see if he could assist in moving this forward. It appears to us that this could go on indefinitely since they do not feel any obligation to meet the deadline set by the FOS. We do face some legal time limits and we don’t want our back against the wall.


Daniel called Al soon after he talked with David. He said that David felt hopeful that the FOS would be investigating the complaint since it is a Lloyd’s policy AND the policy was written by LJJ a UK-based company. However, he felt they needed to wait for the response from Lloyds. He wanted to make sure that this did not become an issue after a decision was made by the FOS.

David also stated that he clearly understood our frustration as it is now more than 19 months since the claim was submitted. He stated that he felt positive that it would move forward based on his conversation with the judicial expert within the FOS. However he felt it was important to receive a response from them either agreeing or providing solid reasons why the FOS should not proceed.

So we continue to wait….


Whoa…Not so Fast

STOP - US Complaints are not so simple

We started the process with the FOS on July 15 and were now waiting for an investigator who specializes in marine cases. But it wasn’t going to be that simple.

On Oct 10, we received an email from David Northcott an FOS adjudicator. It stated “I regret to confirm we are unable to consider your complaint as the policy complained about is not a UK-based policy. The full explanation as to why we don’t have jurisdiction is explained in my letter.” 


David followed up on Oct 16 with an email stating that he was aware that we had filed a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI)In my previously assessment I said your complaint was one that we could not consider because on the basis of “Not a service from within UK” but now we cannot considered it because “Other ADR Entity dealing/dealt with”. That is to say another complaint arbitration scheme is dealing with your complaint.”

He gave us one day to respond before it would be put aside. We responded and requested additional time to receive a determination from the IDOI if they could even address the complaint. He said he would return to the office on Nov 1.

Nov 1, 2017 we sent David Northcott an email communicating that the  IDOI did not have statutory authority. We explained that it only made sense that their organization review the case since they ensured the FCA regulations that ProSight and LJJ Associates were to abide by.

David responded that he would “be able” to respond to us on Nov 8. We didn’t understand the reason for the delay. So we called him. He said that the case was very unique and “complicated” and he needed to talk with an “expert” to determine if they could proceed.

We explained that we believed that even though the policy was paid for in the US, the policy was written by a UK broker and underwritten by a Lloyd’s syndicate. Therefore, it should be heard by the FOS who enforced the FCA’s regulations.

On Nov 8, we received an email from David “As a result of the discussion, I have written today to the Society of Lloyd’s (the underwriters of the policy cover) to seek clarification on various points to include jurisdiction confirmation from it that we can deal with your complaint. They may raise reasons why they don’t think we can consider the complaint. Because the issues are complex in nature I have allowed until 22 November 2017 for a reply.”

We were shocked! It sounded like they were asking the financial institution that forced people into bankruptcy if they should be regulated or not. However, when we talked with David Northcott, he stated that he felt that the FOS should be able to investigate the case and the Society of Lloyds needed to put forth reasons the FOS shouldn’t proceed.

So we wait….again.


The FOS and Lloyd’s of London Complaint Process

Financial Ombudsman Service

During one of our initial conversations with Daniel Crockford, he explained to us that in the UK there was an independent organization which would investigate unfair practices and denials called Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS has a complaint process which is available to everyone with a Lloyd’s of London policy.


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the financial and insurance industry of UK based companies including Lloyd’s of London. If an individual feels they are not treated fairly they can submit a complaint to the FOS and it will be investigated. If the FOS determines that the complainant is correct, the FOS has the authority to force the respondent to pay. Companies do not want cases heard by the FOS because the results are made public. An unfavorable decision reflects poorly on the company and most do not want that exposure.


This service is also free to the complainant, making it very attractive over seeking expensive legal council. Also in the UK court system the looser pays, significantly increasing the risk of the complainant. This service is intended to equal out the playing field of the large powerful corporation against the individual.

There is also the Lloyd’s of London complaint process. If you have a Lloyd’s of London policy, you can complain to them. In fact, you are supposed to complain to them prior to the FOS. They provide the opportunity for the syndicates internal complaint department to address it. If the result is not satisfactory to the complainants than there is a complaint process within the overseeing Society of Lloyds.

The SOL complaints department will hear the complaint and make a determination. According to the internet, the majority of the cases are overturned. However, if the individual is not satisfied, they still has the ability to go to the FOS.

Recent changes to Lloyd’s complaint process

FOS Complicated Complaint ProcessHere is where it starts to get convoluted.  Effective January 1, 2017, Lloyd’s of London changed their process. If the policyholder is non-UK, and the response from the syndicate’s complaint department is not acceptable, the individual is referred back to the department of insurance in the state where the policy was purchased.


Actual Authority

We went to the Indiana Department of Insurance where we live and Florida Department of Insurance where Blue Water Insurance is based. Neither have the authority to address the issues within their complaint process. Therefore, it appears that the Society of Lloyd’s sends us into a black hole and effectively the syndicates have no regulatory oversight. Our only option would be costly arbitration.

Daniel Crockford, our UK solicitor, believes that our case should be heard by the FOS.

Our policy was written in the UK by a FCA regulated company, LJJ. We paid for the policy via Blue Water Insurance, US broker. However, our policy is with LJJ Associates. The policy is underwritten by ProSight Syndicate 1110 which is also regulated by the FCA. The IDOI doesn’t have authority over these organizaitons, therefore it makes sense that our case is investigated by the FOS.

The procedural change is the Lloyd’s of London procedure and not the FOS complaints procedure. So we submitted our complaint to the FOS on July 15, a few days after we had received the final claim denial from ProSight’s complaint department.