Starr v. WQIS – May 2019 Legal Update: Decision of Interest | A notice of Appeal was filed by Starr on May 23, 2018. The parties fully briefed the matter. Oral argument was held at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on May 15, 2019. By decision and Summary Order, on May 29, 2019, the appellate...

Read More
Learn more

Court Acknowledges WQIS’s Experience & Credibility in Decision Interpreting Extent of Defense Costs Amongst Primary and Excess Insurers

Learn more

New updates have been posted for procedures to request extensions for Ballast Water Management compliance.

The update, issued by the U.S. Coast Guard in March 2017, deals with 33CFR 151 in particular and responds to widespread confusion over previously issued guidance. The USCG received hundreds...

Read More
Learn more

On December 22, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a notable opinion in Water Quality Insurance Syndicate v. United States of America. In comprehensive fashion, the Court reversed the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center’s denial of WQIS’ $1.89 million...

Read More
Learn more

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has issued draft guidelines on Arctic marine mammal disasters under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. These guidelines will update the Marine Mammal Oil Spill Response Guidelines of 2006. Comments must be submitted on or before March 13, 2017.

Learn more

The United States Coast Guard is revamping the Alternative Planning Criteria National Guidelines and has extended the public comment period to April 10, 2017. The draft changes seek to clarify alternative planning criteria (APC) submissions and processes pursuant to 33 CFR 155.1065 and 155.5067, ...

Read More
Learn more

Owning a yacht may be for the well-to-do, but idle assets are often a loss owners wish to avoid. Owners of luxury boats—just as those of high-value homes—have increasingly been turning to the sharing economy, or peer-to-peer rentals. Online services that cater to high-value boat leases make it ea...

Read More
Learn more

Responding to an at-sea oil spill requires multiple efforts, some that occur simultaneously and some that are deployed over a linear time frame. Knowing what your goals are is the first challenge. Finding and accumulating the right data to define that and establish finite, clear benchmarks is muc...

Read More
Learn more


Insurance Products

  • Vessel Pollution

    More than 45 years ago, we developed a Worldwide Marine Vessel Pollution Policy form in response to the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1970, which expanded the federal government’s authority over water quality standards and water polluters. Its provisions stated that a discharging vessel was strictly liable for removal subject to very limited defenses, and also placed a limitation on liability with the vessel operator, which was required to prove it had the resources to pay for the spill’s cleanup costs up to its limit of liability. In addition, a Certificate of Financial Responsibility indicating proof must be obtained from the Federal Maritime Commission.Our Worldwide Marine Pollution Liability was created to provide potential accidental water polluters from the liabilities they face under federal water regulations. This insurance policy covers losses such as cleanup, damage to natural resources, legal defense and civil penalties, and includes any Certificate of Financial Respons
  • Cargo

    Any number of things can go wrong while shipping cargo, especially when cargo ends up in the water. The cargo owner could be responsible for an expensive cleanup and legal damages, especially if the spill is handled poorly.WQIS’ Marine Cargo Owners Vessel Pollution insurance provides an end-to-end solution designed to be effective in today’s marine marketplace. Whatever the cargo, WQIS coverage will protect the cargo owner for their legal liability arising from the spill or threat of a spill from their cargo and from a vessel.
  • Blue Haven Marina

    Marina owners risk being responsible for every vessel in their harbor. A late night electrical fire or poor navigation by a weekend captain can cause some serious damage to the vessels – and even more serious for the assured – pollution to the surrounding water. The cleanup costs alone can amount to two or three years of revenue, significantly impacting the financial viability of a marina operation.The Blue Haven™ Marina Policy from WQIS provides coverage for an owner and/or operator of a marina for their liabilities as the owner and/or operator of a vessel, for vessels in the care, custody or control of the marina and for third-party vessels at the clients’ scheduled locations. This innovative product offers broad protection for all vessels at a scheduled marina.WQIS also offers a fueling endorsement to marinas to cover fueling operations typically not covered by fuel tank insurance.
  • Blue Yard Shipyard

    WQIS’ Blue Yard Boat/Shipyard Pollution Insurance policy offers the most comprehensive coverage for the boat and shipyard industry. It provides coverage for an owner and/or operator of a shipyard for their liabilities as the owner and/or operator of a vessel, for vessels in the care, custody or control of the shipyard and for third-party vessels at the clients’ scheduled locations. Coverage also includes, upon request, a Master Certificate of Financial Responsibility Guaranty.Scrappers, builders, and repairers rely on our WQIS Blue Shipyard policy to mitigate the risk for liabilities arising from spills and threats of spills.
  • Non-Vessels Owners

    Those who work on, near or around vessels have a pollution liability exposure that could end up costing their business considerably if they are found liable for causing a spill and ultimately responsible for cleaning it up. There are infinite ways that a spill can occur with variables that are beyond one’s control, which is why WQIS offers non-vessel owners marine pollution insurance.Our Marine Pollution insurance policy provides coverage for legal liability arising from oil spills or hazardous substances from a vessel. We also offer optional coverage for discharge of substances other than oil or hazardous substances. The depth, innovation, and breadth of WQIS Marine Pollution insurance can be a tremendous asset for any business that faces a vessel-related environmental liability exposure.
  • COFR Guaranty

    To comply with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), vessels over 300 gross tons using the navigable waters of the United States must have a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR). In addition, any vessel, REGARDLESS OF TONNAGE, that is LIGHTERING or TRANSSHIPPING oil in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States, must have a COFR. The only exceptions to this rule are public vessels and non-self propelled barges that do not carry oil as fuel or cargo, and do not carry hazardous substances as cargo. These two types of vessels do not require a COFR. The COFR is issued by the National Pollution Funds Center after the operator applies and demonstrates proof of financial responsibility via a guaranty. WQIS is an approved guarantor by the NPFC and can provide a Guaranty to the NPFC if an operator has pollution insurance with WQIS or if pollution insurance is placed with a WQIS approved insurer.
  • Bunker Blue Cards

    Over many years, there have been numerous heavy fuel oil spills from vessels as a result of the escape or discharge of bunker oil. There were challenges with the recovery of the associated cost and damages following a bunker pollution incident. Such challenges included difficulty in enforcing judgments in some flag states, no automatic right to pursue a claim in the state where the spill occurred, extensive legal costs and insufficient insurance cover carried by the registered ship owner.

About us

Today, WQIS is the largest underwriter of vessel pollution liability insurance for vessels in the United States, offering the most comprehensive insurance products in the market. We insure all types of commercial and private marine risks and we will work with our customers to ensure we can provide best-in-class coverage for their specific risk.

We provide water pollution liability insurance from the smallest to the largest fleets for vessel operators worldwide, providing coverage for more than thirty thousand (30,000) vessels, pollution guaranties for over three thousand five hundred (3,500) vessels, and have cleaned up over five thousand (5,000) spills in our history. WQIS offers insurance on behalf of fifteen (15) subscribing insurance companies in the Marine Insurance Market (see Subscribers for details).

Contact Us


Call now
  • (212) 292-8700
  • (888) 605-3964


Get directions
60 Broad Street
33rd Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Business Hours

Mon:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tue:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wed:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thu:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Fri:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Contact Us
Message sent. We'll get back to you soon.