Larry Montgomery – Appeal to NAMS Ethical Responsibility

We decided to appeal to Larry Montgomery’s ethical responsibility to communicate what he witnessed in January, 2017. Below is the letter we sent on December 31, 2017. As expected responded “Thank you for this status report. I have forwarded a copy to the Underwriter’s representatives for their review and onward distribution.

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Letter to Larry

Larry,

 We wanted to update you regarding the status of our dismasting claim May 1, 2016 and appeal to your NAMS ethical obligations and good sense to make this right.

Our insurance claims were denied as a result of leveraging the July 11, 2016 damage report written by John Koon with you in attendance. ProSight, the Lloyd’s underwriting syndicate, acquired the “advice” of Hill Dickinson, a large law firm in London. Even though there were “No immediate conclusions …. as to the probable cause of the dismasting” in the report Hill Dickinson cherry picked false assertions from the report and combined them with outlandish judgments by unqualified Underwriters. The result was labeling Dragonfly as unseaworthy and a breach of warranty. The breach of warranty “invalidated” the policy resulting in the denial of the dismasting claim, $15,000 damage and $20,000 theft that occurred at the Ala Wai dock while we waited for a settlement.

You stated during our conversations in May 2016, that the insurance company was there to make us “whole.” During numerous conversations you reassured us that a settlement was coming. We did not expect that you would be the one who would help them keep from doing that by withholding your findings during the inspection on January 17, 2017.

The purpose of the John Koon June 2016 survey you described to us was to “constitute an acceptable “best practice” repair, insuring a proper replacement” We were shocked to discover the real objective when reading the actual report. The report contained no mention of this objective or specific recommendations. We would never have authorized a survey with the actual intent without our presence if we had been properly informed. Misrepresenting this reeks of an ethics violation.

We understand that Dragonfly’s appearance at that time of your initial visit and during the John Koon survey could imply a lack of maintenance. However, it should have been obvious that the appearance was the result of the situation and not typical as Bill Trenkle and you observed later and many previous guests and crew attest to.

The areas in the report identified as potentially relevant to the dismasting were the rigging and “platform / main beam / compression path-post”. We have proof that all the rigging ages were within the NVIC 2-16 guidelines. A main beam load test that was performed completely eliminates the possibility of a main beam compression path-post or yielding structural deficiency.

The John Koon report dated July 11 was quite negative and full of proven false assertions. However, the word “unseaworthy” was never used. Based on the new evidence isn’t it appropriate to state that the term “unseaworthy” is obviously not applicable as Bill Trenkle stated?

Were you aware that the ProSight Syndicate 1110, who paid for your services are no longer in business? They went into run-off in June 2017. It’s time to meet your NAMS ethical obligations.

We are now beginning a Stage 2 review. The Society of Lloyd’s is reviewing the claim. We have provided a significant amount of evidence that contradict or disprove the assertions in the John Koon report, and the Underwriter assertions. You witnessed the majority of them, but have yet to report your observations. It’s time for you to do so.

Inspections which contradicts John Koon’s assertions by Bill Trenkle, Jay Butler and yourself; a dismasting analysis by Bill Trenkle and Bill Leneman and maintenance invoices demonstrate the following:

  • Proof that the saddle brackets for the forward beam did not move.
  • Proof that platform / main beam / compression path-post or yielding failure did not occur. This was based on
  1. 12-ton main beam load test with a deflection of 1/16th of inch, meeting the design specs of Kurt Hughes and providing absolute proof that a “failure of the main beam in way of mast compression” was not possible.
  2. Percussion testing
  3. Absence of cracks in any of the primary main beam seams not inspected by John Koon.
  4. No physical evidence of compression once the mast step was removed.
  5. Proof that the turnbuckles had threads left, proving tightening was possible
  6. Proof that the turnbuckles were turned to the position because of a rigging change, not because of mast compression.
  7. Proof that the gennaker turnbuckle did not strip or self-release as you suggested based on
  8. A picture of it still in place when Dragonfly arrived in Honokohau.
  9. Physical inspection by experts reporting that it was in good condition and operational.
  • Proof that all remaining rigging was in good condition and operational except for damage as a result of the dismasting based on
  1. Evidence from British Stainless Steel Association that the wire strength is not degraded when not under stress. Dragonfly’s rigging was removed and unstressed for an average of 5-6 months each year and in a fresh water environment, when we were hauled in Florida.
  2. Invoice evidence that rigging was replaced 2008-2014 therefore well within the guidelines you were involved in creating for the USCG. Especially considering that 5-6 months per year it was unstressed and in a fresh water environment.
  3. Physical inspection by experts reporting that all were in good condition and operational.
  • Proof that the diamonds suspected of causing the dismasting were removed and inspected less than 2 weeks prior to the dismasting, demonstrating an awareness and small likelihood that they were to blame for the dismasting.
  • Proof that the original mast-section was well suited and designed by Kurt Hughes. It is the same as the replacement as recommended by Art Nelson.
  • Proof that the “hardware/anchoring points“ / chain-plates were “suited for sustained offshore use” when able to support 120,000 lbs., which is three times the strength of the stainless wire and ten times the expected maximum load.
  • Proof that the Norseman fitting identified in “disrepair” is a swageless fitting. Replacing the wire and cone is a standard practice.
  • Proof that the only explanation for the dismasting considering the physical evidence, experience and eyewitness descriptions by the crew was a rogue wave violently pushing the vessel to windward buckling the mast below the boom first. John K agreed with this in the report when stating “An opposing wave impact in the conditions, described by Mr. Wigginton, would also impose an additional thrust on the mast tube, at the height of the diamond shrouds inserts/penetrations on both sides of the mast, in a lateral direction to port.”
  • Proof that a failure of the diamonds was not the cause of the dismasting based on graphical analysis of physical evidence and eyewitness descriptions.
  • Proof that Dragonfly is seaworthy based on expert opinions and by safely sailing her to CA in July 2017 with a temporary mast.

 

This has been a 20+ month financial and emotional nightmare for us, and a significant amount of time for a 77-year old man.

You have opportunity to make this right and demonstrate that your actions were without malice. Provide an email, letter or document stating that after reviewing the input provided by others and based on your own observations, John Koon’s report and assertions were incorrect. This would eliminate the basis for their denial.

We feel that you have an ethical and professional obligation to set the record straight. Reporting what you witnessed would seem like the prudent action. We expect the review to begin by January 8thth.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon and can be available anytime to discuss this.

Alan & Jill Wigginton

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Facts Outweigh Opinions

Main Beam Load Test

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The purpose of the test was to demonstrate that the hull platform was sound and could support the loads it was designed for. The demonstration of this would eliminate any question of the hull platform’s integrity and hence seaworthiness.

John Koon’s report stated that Dragonfly was a “marginally maintained hull platform.” He questioned the integrity of the hull platform when stating “the mast could have been over-active, moving excessively out of column, as a result of the platform/main beam yielding to compression.” States that “the condition of the platform /main beam / compression path-post could have caused the failure as described by Mr. Wigginton.” These outrageous assertions with no foundational evidence explicitly imply that the vessel was unseaworthy. However, to a individual unfamiliar with construction or structural loading of a catamaran and looking for a reason to deny the claim, Mr. Koon’s observations was easily accepted.

John Koon asserted that the beam yielded to compression even though there was zero evidence of any stress cracks along the beam. Bill Trenkle a SAMS surveyor and Larry Montgomery, the Lloyd’s agent and NAMS surveyor, attested to this fact. In fact, Bill Trenkle noted that the cracks John Koon identified were in non-structural areas. Larry Montgomery also revealed that John Koon did not go into the anchor lockers or other appropriate areas to actually inspect the main beam for cracks.

Fortunately we don’t have to rely on opinions when we can test that the structure is in fact sound. We knew we could conclusively prove John Koon’s beam yielding assertion incorrect by testing the deflection. Tightening the rigging places a measurable load on the beam. The deflection (the degree to which a structural element flexes) as a result of the compression is measured. This would demonstrate whether the deflections met the specifications of the vessel designer, Kurt Hughes

However, without a mast, it was difficult and quite expensive to accurately simulate the load on the beam. However, once we installed a temporary mast used to return to California, it was now possible to conduct a repeatable and industry standard load test.

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We loaded the beam with over 22000 lbs. by tightening the wires that hold the mast in place and determined that the deflection was less than 1/16” (0.066”), which was the deflection that Kurt Hughes had specified in his 1/29/17 report (Kurt Hughes – Beam Strength.pdf).

This conclusively proves that the integrity of the beam today is exactly the same as it was when launched in 1998 and could not be a cause of the dismasting.

John Koon, the damage surveyor for ProSight made several misleading and false statements in his report. These statements were proven false in other portions of our complaint. This test provides one more piece of evidence that puts into serious question the credibility of any opinions presented in John Koon’s report. The shear number of proven false assertions or assertions with no real supporting evidence, should completely discredit the report or anything offered by John Koon.

The remaining information of this document explain the specific details of the load test and pictorially demonstrate the process and results. The load test is a repeatable industry standard test. If requested we will conduct this test in the presence of a ProSight or Lloyds representative.

Concepts behind the testing

Mr. Wigginton graduated as a mechanical engineer from Imperial College London. Mr. Wigginton worked as an engineer in equipment design for heavy equipment and processing. This experience provided him the basis to analyze the structural forces at play on an ocean going vessel.

Kurt Hughes reviewed and validated the load testing technique. Kurt is the designer of many sailing vessels and masts including Dragonfly.

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Dragonfly’s rigging is called a “tripod”. It consists of two shrouds, (port and starboard) and a “headstay”. This picture shows the starboard shroud (the line from the mast to just above the 6) and the headstay (the line from the mast forward).

Our headstay is a roller furler with the headsail on it. It attaches to the cross beam on the front of the boat. The shrouds attach to the oversized chain plates. These three wires put a downward load on the beam thru the mast to hold it in place on the mast step.

This also shows where the mast is located on the boat.

This schema from Kurt Hughes shows that the mast sits directly on the main beam. We have drawn a line between the A and R to represent where the main beam is. The main beam goes from one side to the other and is approximately 5” thick.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:9 - port turnbuckle after load.jpg The shrouds and headstay are held in place and tightened by turnbuckles (left).

Turnbuckle inner workingsA turnbuckle consists of two threaded eyebolts, one screwed into each end of a small metal frame, one with a left-hand thread and the other with a right-hand thread. The picture to the right shows the inner workings.

The tension can be adjusted by rotating the frame, which causes both eye bolts to be screwed in or out simultaneously

To determine the amount of load put on the beam by tightening the shrouds the “The Folding Rule Method” is used.  Per the specifications, a 2-meter portion of stainless steel 316L wire will stretch 1mm for each 5% of its strength. This is true regardless of the wire diameter. Therefore, it is possible to determine the load based on the stretch of the wire with a 2-meter pole attached to the wire.

Per the specifications the strength of the 9/16″ 316L stainless shroud wire is 37,000 lbs. The goal is to put over 20,000 lbs. of load on the mast to see the deflection of the beam. We will need to stretch the wire 4mm to achieve the load we desire. The reason for that load will be clearer later in the results.

Location of the mast surround in the salon We also need to be able to measure the deflection in the beam. The mast surround sits directly on the beam behind the mast and is available to us inside the salon. We can use a horizontal laser level beam to measure the deflection as we change the loads on it by tightening the shrouds.

In a nutshell we will use 2-meter PVC poles attached to the shrouds, tighten the wires with the turnbuckle, measure the stretch in the wire with a caliper to demonstrate the load. We will then utilize engineering and geometric equations to determine the approximate loads. Using a laser level beam recorded before and after the load is applied will identify the deflection.

The test process

  • Loosen the starboard and port shrouds at the turnbuckles to reduce the current load.
  • Horizontal lines are drawn 1/16th –inch apart on a piece of paper.
  • Tape the paper on the mast surround at the beam.
  • Focus the laser beam directly across from the paper.
  • Align the laser beam with the bottom line on the paper.
  • Clamp a 2-meter piece of PVC pole to both shrouds (316L stainless wire) so the bottom is at the top of the turnbuckle fitting.
  • Turn the turnbuckles to tighten the shrouds.
  • As the wire stretches the two-meter PVC pole moves up as the stainless stretches. The movement is measurable based on the distance between the bottom of the PVC pole and the top of the turnbuckle.
  • Continue to turn until there is a 4mm change by using a digital caliper (a very precise measuring tool) is used.
  • Record the change in the laser beam.

Calculating the Load

Using the folding rule test, the shrouds can be tensioned to 20% of yield strength by extending 4mm on the 2-meter length. Therefore 4mm is equivalent to 7400lbs of tension for each shroud

To calculate the total load on the main beam by the mast, the two shrouds and the headstay loads need to calculated and added together.

The downward force on the mast is calculated as follows.

Shroud Loads

Force vector mathmaticsLength of ST = 68.5
Length of SHF = 18
Length of SPF = 11
Length of SFx = 65

ST = (37,000 *.20) = 7,400
SFx = 7,400 * (65/68.5) * 2 (shrouds)
Sfx = 14044

SHF = 14044 * (18/68.5) = 3689
SPF = 3689 * (11/18)
SPF = 2254 lbs.

Equilibrium

There are three wires (2 shrouds and headstay) pulling the mast to hold it in place. The forces of these three wires must be balanced. Therefore, the pulling forces from the mast to the shrouds and the mast to the headstay have to be equal.

Headstay load

We don’t know what the tension of the headstay is, but we can calculate it because we have the pulling force of the shrouds. So we can use simple geometric equations to determine the tension and thus the vertical force of the headstay.

HPF = SPF = 2254
Length HT = 70
Length HFx = 65
Length HPF = 18

HT = 2254 / (18/70)
HT = 8767

HFx = 8767 * (65/70)
HFx = 8140

Total Load on Beam by Mast

The total load would be to total of the force of the shrouds (Sfx) plus headstay force (Hfx)

14043 + 8140 = 22,183 lbs.

Conducting the Test

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:5 - Starboard - pvc pole (1).jpg Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:1 - pvc pole starboard - before.jpg

Starboard                    Port

Attached a 2-meter PVC pole to the starboard and port shroud wires.

Al shows that the pole is 2 meters with the tape measure. Al is 6’3.

Note that he is measuring from the clamp that holds the PVC pole to the shroud wire.

Below is the measurement at the turnbuckle fitting

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Starboard                     Port

The PVC pole sits at the top of the turnbuckle fitting before the turnbuckles have been tightened.

Starboard                     Port

The starboard and port turnbuckles before they are tightened.

Note the number of threads visible.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:11 - Sheet on Mast Surround before load (2).jpg The paper is taped to the mast surround so the laser beam is at the main beam.

This is the laser beam prior to the tightening of the turnbuckles.

The laser beam is parallel to the top of the main beam

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:Before the load - close up.jpg

Note that the bottom of the laser beam is on the bottom line.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:8 - starboard turnbuckle after load.jpg Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:9 - port turnbuckle after load.jpg The turnbuckles are tightened.

Note the change in the threads visible from the earlier pictures.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:15 - caliper starboard after load (2).jpg Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:14 - Caliper port shroud (2).jpg

Starboard                      Port

The digital caliper is used to show the distance between the bottom of the PVC pole and the top of the fitting on both sides

Starboard shows 4.10mm

Port shows 4.11mm

Per the load calculations this causes each wire to put an approximate of 7400 lbs. on main beam via the mast.

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The laser beam after the tightening.

Note the bottom line has moved down below the laser beam less than 1/16”. This is consistent with Kurt Hughe’s original design specifications.

Conclusion

This load test utilized industry standard techniques and standard engineering equations to demonstrate thru pictures that John Koon’s assertion that the beam yielding to compression was ludicrous. Kurt Hughes, the vessel designer, states that under full main sail the load on the beam would be on the order of 25,000 lbs. and yield 1/16”.

This demonstrates that the deflection is consistent with Kurt Hugh’s design and would yield only a small fraction of an inch. In fact Kurt Hughe’s designed the main beam to handle 21 times the anticipated full load. Therefore, even a higher load would be only a fraction more. This amount of main beam yield compression could not possibly lead to the mast buckling as suggested by John Koon. This proves his assertion false and should put in question ALL other baseless assertions by him.

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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.

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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.

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Complaint Response from ProSight

On May 24, 2017 we received an acknowledgement of our complaint from Satvinder K Ajimal (Satty) a Conduct & Compliance Manager for ProSight Specialty Managing Agency – Syndicate 1110. Satty apologized that we felt the need to file a complaint. She assured us that it would be dealt with promptly and we would receiving a response soon.

Follow-up regarding response

July 14 was eight weeks from the date we submitted our complaint to ProSight and our understanding of their deadline. We did not want to irritate them by following up sooner than we should expect a response. On July 11, we sent a follow-up email to Satty to see if they would have a response to us by the deadline. We received the following from Satty on July 12th.

“ProSight provided a response to your complaint on 6th June 2017., which was sent by post addressed to Mr A Wigginton c/o Crew’s Mess Limited.  I have attached a copy of the complaint response, as it would appear that this was not passed on to you by Crew’s Mess.”

WHO THE HECK IS CREW”S MESS?

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Why didn’t Satty send us an email as promised!

 

Rubber Stamped Response

The letter stated the “on the basis of the reports provided by the surveyors, yacht was deemed unseaworthy at the time of the initial incident in May 2016 and that this would have equally been the case on 1 April 2016, when your insurance policy incepted. Hill Dickinson further advised that the unseaworthiness of the vessel at the inception represented a breach of warranty and the contract of insurance was consequently and properly treated void ad initio (and that the premium paid would be returned to you). Accordingly both claims have been rejected for the reason that there is no insurance policy in force against which a claim may be made.

Having reviewd this matter, I note that no new evidence or other information has been provided to counter the position set out by our lawyers. Accordingly, I do not consider there to be any grounds to change our position and can confirm that this represents our final decision on this matter.

Should you wish to pursue the matter further, you may refer the matter to the Indiana Deparment of Insurance. 

Paul Longville, Head of Compliance, ProSight Managing Specialty Managing Agency Ltd

Our complaint was clearly not reviewed

WHAT!!?? We spent thousands of dollars more and taken two months to compile and reply to every allegation, innuendo and false statement that Hill Dickenson had in their claim denial. How can the letter say there is “no new evidence or other information“? However, Satty had stated that they would review it promptly, not thoroughly or fairly.

We also thought that sending it to Crew’s Mess was a clear indicator of their lack of concern. They sent it to a company we had never heard of. Satty told us that she would respond to us.

Why are they referring us to the Indiana Department of Insurance? This is policy was written by a UK-based insurance company

Response to their response

angry typing.jpgWe responded on July 14th lambasting them for sending a letter to a company we don’t even know. It also outlined all the new evidence provided:

  • Documentation demonstrating that the rigging age was within the USCG standards
  • Statement from the location that Dragonfly was hauled and mast unstepped annually
  • Statements by the British Stainless Steel regarding the lack of fatigue on unstressed stainless as the rigging would have been due to the annual hauling.
  • Report and photographic evidence by Bill Trenkle addressing the seaworthiness of Dragonfly
  • Report from an international rigger regarding the condition of the remaining rigging
  • Financial records of the significant annual maintenance records
  • Photographic proof of John Koon’s false statement regarding the stripping of the gennaker turnbuckle
  • The statements made by Larry Montgomery (their agent) refuting John Koon’s report.
  • Email logs with the USCG
  • Passage logs for the trip as requested.

July 21, 2016 we received an acknowledgement from Satty of our July 14th email stating that she would “review your comments and respond as soon as possible.”

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More Unethical Actions by Agent

Two-Faced Unethical Actions - Larry MontgomeryJanuary 23rd we received an email from Larry providing an overview of his visit. He listed the things that he looked at, but did not include the condition of what he saw. More unethical actions from Larry Montgomery. He repeatedly stated that the items he saw were in contradiction to the John Koon report. We responded:

“We are disappointed that you did not convey that the items shown to you were in the original John Koon survey. Also that they were reported differently in the report than what you repeatedly acknowledged the actual condition to be. We expect that if there are questions about these by Mr Scott or the underwriters, you as a qualified NAMS surveyor, are prepared to convey that the issues Mr Koon reported did not have evidence of the problems he identified.”

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Addressed the unethical actions offline

After receiving no response from him regarding his lack of transparency with LJJ Associates and ProSight regarding the items he witnessed on Dragonfly, we sent him a direct email on Feb 2, 2017 The email suggested that he had an ethical responsibility as a NAMS surveyor to communicate what he saw.

He responded and said that he was providing the pictures and a copy of our email to Mr Spink and Wayne Scott. We do not know if an email was ever sent to them. Larry had always cc’d us on emails like this. However it didn’t happen this time. Therefore we are very suspicious that it was not done. If it was, we suspect that it didn’t represent what he told us. If it contained the truth, why not share it?

No justified vindication

We clearly expected Larry to be honest, join the experts and confirm that the John Koon report had a significant number of false statements in it. He apparently did not do this so his inexcusable unethical actions continue to be a roadblock.

Daniel, our solicitor submitted our response on Feb 2, 2017. So now we wait. Hoping that someone will see reason.

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Olive Branch – Seeking Shared Truth

Olive Branch - Seeking Shared TruthWe contacted Larry on Jan 14, 2017 and invited him to come on board to review the findings of Bill Trenkle with us and take the theft and damage claims. We were extending an olive branch to work together to determine what was the truth.

On Jan 16, Wayne Scott authorized him to come on board and told him to  “investigate and report to underwriters on all matters listed please.”

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Inspection of Areas and Items in Dispute

Larry came on board on Jan 17. He inspected, verbally confirmed and took pictures of the following and other areas:

  • Main beam – No stress cracks in the anchor lockers or in the berths where attached to the main beam. He admitted they did not get into the anchor locker during the June survey since there were lines and fenders in the lockers.
  • Forward beam – No movement of the forward beam brackets evident on the outside or inside. Larry acknowledged that the forward beam design allowed it to twist on the bracket when under load from the anchor.
  • Minor mast surround leak – was due to the salon roof flexing, not the main beam flexing.
  • Minor water leaks around the front windows was due to the curved designed of the surface, resulting in it being difficult to get a good seal. It had nothing to do with the beam flexing.
  • The remaining turnbuckles, were not stripped, in good condition and functional.

Larry wrote up the claims for the damage and theft which Al signed and told us that he would send all of this information to Wayne Scott.

Vindication!

We felt vindicated. Larry openly admitted that John Koon’s report, which he was involved with, was incorrect. He agreed one-by-one that each of major flaws portrayed in the report did NOT exist.

We thought this mess would soon be over. Finally, the truth would be shared.

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Hostile Action Taken Seven Months after Loss

Angry foot tapping.jpegFor the next two weeks we sent multiple emails to Larry, and Wayne Scott hoping for action or direction regarding

  • acquiring a copy of John Koon’s response to our response to his initial report,
  • our settlement offer and
  • clarification on the expenses format.

The responses were inadequate or deflective. They even referred us back to Blue Water Insurance who had already told us not to call them.

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On Nov 11 Wayne Scott of LJJ Associates writes:

“Rest assured I am liaising with underwriters at Lloyd’s and your requests are certainly NOT being ignored.

Fully understand your position and will contact them again for the latest urgently.”

They hire solicitors

On Nov 14 Wayne Scott sent the following to Blue Water Insurance, Larry Montgomery and us.

“I have copied all parties in as I wish it to be perfectly clear these are advices direct from the insuring underwriters in Lloyd’s and not from LJJ Associates or any other party: –

Underwriters have responded as follows:

In order for Underwriters to give the Insured the benefit of a detailed analysis, to get a get a settled picture, and to validate and resolve this claim as soon as possible, we have instructed Hill Dickinson.  This isn’t intended to be a hostile move on our part and the person we have referred to there is conscious that this is time sensitive and that we do not want a long drawn out legal overview but a straight forward strategy to resolve, narrow any points in dispute, by an expert in the field. 

I appreciate the suggestion of a payment on account but as you will appreciate we need to work out what the basis for any settlement would be.  This forms part of the remit to HD.  They are working on the file as I type so we expect to be in touch very soon with their views.

Will revert soonest.

Best wishes

Wayne”

Incredulous Action and Statement

Hostile action

Not a hostile action??!! Seriously? Hill Dickinson very large (1200 person) law firm in the UK. Were they really trying to tell us that involving attorneys should not imply a hostile action??  Yea right!

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Settlement Offer

We knew it would take a while for the underwriters to digest our response to John Koon’s report, so we waited. We expected them to come to us with a settlement offer. Our experience with other claims (car and property) was that we would be estimates and the insurance company would respond with a settlement offer.

Submit expenses again

expense report.jpgWhile we waited, Jill compiled our expenses again. She had received no response from Blue Water on the first expense submission. Therefore she sent them to Larry. Jill asked Larry for an expense form and he suggested for me to just do it the way that made sense. Jill created a spreadsheet listing all the expenses in categories with a reference to the specific invoice or receipt that was attached.  Larry replied “excellent job” after they were submitted. He communicated that he would review them and forward them on, unless he had any questions. We never heard from him, so assumed that they had been forwarded.

 

 

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Settlement Offer Requested from Us

Our understanding was that we would provide the estimates and expenses and they would offer a settlement. Al told Larry that we were interested in a cash settlement. On September 6, Al followed up with Larry. It had been

  • one week since we had sent our response to the John Koon report,
  • five weeks since the last estimates had been submitted
  • ttime to do what was needed to Dragonfly and get her to CA was growing very short.

Larry responded that day with the following “As the boat owner and the insured party, the Underwriters are prepared to settle on an, “unrepaired” basis, but they are also willing to allow you — as a courtesy — to declare what, in your judgement, the fair value of that settlement is, or might be.” 

Good news, it appeared that our response to the John Koon had accepted and we would be able to carry on. Larry said he would be out of the office for a week, but we could begin the negotiations when he returned.

Settlement Offer Submitted

settlement offer.jpgSept 16, 2016 we submitted an offer. It combined the estimates. Some of the estimates didn’t include all the work. Knowing that most projects go over budget we increased it by 10%, included our expenses to date and expenses anticipated to get Dragonfly to the states and during the repairs and submitted it to Larry. During a conversation with Larry, he stated that he thought “the proposal was well thought thru and reasonable

Finally on Sept 27th Larry responded to our follow-up on the 25th stating:

This is the status of the claim:

  1. The Underwriters have acknowledged receiving your compromise proposal, which they have under review and consideration.
  2. John Koon has been recently furnished with the two PDF’s you sent to me with your comments on his report. The Underwriters would like to evaluate his reply before proceeding with the settlement.
  3. The Underwriters have two basic questions on the vessel status, and hope you can bring us up to speed. One, are you able to keep the DRAGONFLY moored for the long-term, or are there any constraints imposed by the harbormaster? Two, if you are planning on starting with your own repairs, they would like to be advised of the timing and scope. Undertaking your own repairs could have an effect on the current insurance in place; if you do intend to do work yourself, or employ contractors, I should be informed, so that the Underwriters can address the project plan and comment accordingly.”

pulling hair out.jpgThe news is disappointing. It appears that we are just going thru an exercise. Why on earth would they go back to John Koon, when we provided proof that he was wrong on multiple things within his report? His credibility should have been nil.

We responded that we had 120 days in the harbor and no work was planned. We asked to see John Koon’s response and requested the status of the expenses since the amount was mounting.

Lack of Good Faith

After hearing nothing we followed up with Larry on Oct 7, requesting an update. Our frustration was high. It had been over 6 months since the loss. We finished the email with the following. Larry immediately forwarded it directly to Wayne Scott of LJJ:

“We have seen no good faith actions by the insurance company during which time we mitigated the damage to Dragonfly and secured the vessel at minimum cost with a significant outlay of cash by us.

We need some reassurance by LLJ that they are prepared to settle in good faith soon”

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WTF! – Survey with Significant Errors and Baseless Suppositions!

report with lies.jpgAugust 12 ,2016 we received a copy of John Koon’s “damage” survey, dated July 11, 2016. Larry Montgomery clearly misled us on the intent of the report. But worse than that, the report was filled with significant errors, untruths and baseless suppositions. Some of the erroneous items were:

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  • Margionally maintained hull platform, machinery, electrical systems, de-watering equipment and pollution control prevention.”  A loose broad statement with no evidence provided in the report. Was Dragonfly a mess? Yes, but you would expect her to be based on the dismasting and issues dealt with after.
  • Indicates that the vessel may have been compromised from failure of main beam in way of mast-compression path.”  Mast compression is an issue on monohulls NOT catamarans with tri-pod rigs.
  • Vessel may have been fitted with a mast-section not well suited for vessel’s beam, inherent stability, righting moment, displacement and reported sail area” The mast was designed by a marine engineer who designed the boat. Dragonfly had been sailed over 100,000 miles for 18 years with no issues in much worse conditions. This statement made no sense.
  • He states that the remaining rigging was stored with other “failed rigging equipment“. We do not store failed rigging equipment, we store partially used rigging equipment as emergency spares like all long distance cruisers do. It’s like when you get a new frying pan, don’t you keep the old one just in case?
  • He identified “fractured weld seams and weeping fasteners”  the weld was for aesthetic purposes and not load related. The surface of the deck bolts had some rust, but there was no evidence of them weeping inside the vessel, nor did he offer any.
  • He stated “Both beam brackets show indications of racking. Possibly due to the hulls articulating vertically and independently of each other” This is absurd. How could the boat navigated the distances it had if this was true. There was also no evidence of this thru stress fractures or where the brackets connected to the beam.
  • He stated that the “genaker turn buckle had stripped“. There was no evidence of this, in fact it was completely functional and still attached when they arrived in Honokohau Harbor.

False Handshake - Shady CharacterShocked & Confused

We were shocked! He made statement after statement that could be misleading to a unknowledgeable reader with no basis for questioning them. Would they have a marine savvy person reviewing the claim? Larry had also been in attendance during the “survey”. He had never given us any impression that there might be an issue. Every time we talked with him or exchanged emails, he was very encouraging. Was Larry being open and honest with us?

We realized that this would have a significant impact on our claim and we probably had a fight on our hands. But surely a knowledgeable person looking at the report with our counter arguments would realize the inaccuracies. We just needed to make our response clear. But in the back of our minds was the question… was this done on purpose, to give them a reason to deny our claim?

list of significant errors

During Al’s flight he outlined all the false statements, significant errors and unsupportable suppositions in an email to Larry and told him that we would provide a more detailed response after he returned to Indianapolis.

 

 Gotta Move Dragonfly from Honokohau

 

No Availability at marinasBut we had a more time critical issue to address. Time was up and we had to move Dragonfly. Al flew to Hawaii on August 14 to find another location for her. We had called all the marinas and they told us they had no space.  Ken Fairchild offered to go with Al and help him find a place to dock her. He had spent a lot of time in Hawaii and advised that you had a better chance of finding a place if you just showed up.

Dfly at Ala Wai harborAfter stopping at multiple locations Al and Ken were able to find temporary dock space in Ala Wai Harbor in Honoloulu. Since it was temporary, a person had to go to the office every 14 days and pay for the dock for the next 14 days. Al found John Dukesherer who would do this for us. Fortunately he was familiar with the process and people involved. He was also familiar with boats and could assist us with any long distance maintenance required.

Al returned to Indianapolis August 24.

Our complete detailed response was submitted on August 31.

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Our estimates and expenses are in. Nothing’s happening!

Estimates and expenses are complete!The two estimates from California were submitted to LJJ Associates on June 29th.

The estimates by the Hawaii vendors were submitted to LJJ Associates on July 24th.

We submitted our expenses to Blue Water Insurance on July 7.

All the estimates were within a reasonable range of each other, identifying a general magnitude of the project. Larry told us that he thought they were all reasonable. He also supported the cost of having a captain transport Dragonfly to CA for repairs.

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Where is John Koon’s Report?

We had not received a copy of the John Koon report  Excuses for the delays were continually made by Larry.  We had been told that the Hawaii estimates were dependent on the report. So how could the estimate have been completed without the report?

Time is a problem and high dollar expenses are looming

As time carried on, we became more and more concerned about Al’s ability to get Dragonfly to the States before hurricane season. Finding a place to put Dragonfly in Hawaii for less than $2500/month was becoming more and more of a problem. Our time was running out on Big Island and we were receiving no real assistance from the insurance company. With no commitment from them, it didn’t make sense to take Dragonfly to an expensive dock. However, we may have no choice.

Life carries on.

August 3, Jill had her surgery. She had to go back in for a repair but ultimately everything went well. Her surgery began at 7am and she was in her room at midnight. Her sister Sheri and daughter, Michelle were full-time rotating caregivers in the hospital and home for the first 10 days. Jill would be housebound for a minimum of 6 weeks with a 12 month full recovery period.

waiting with cobweb.jpg

We waited,,,,, sending periodic messages receiving responses that were hollow..

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