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Old July 23rd, 2019, 05:07 AM
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Default 'Recovered Starships'

Having just re-read 'Giving the bank a fighting chance', in JTAS 16, made me wonder how you all would handle a recovered starship that was thought to be lost or stolen. Not skipped.

Does the insurance company own the ship? Assuming payments were kept up to the point where the loss was reported.

The bank would have some rights, assuming it was still under 'contract'.

Suggestions?
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Old July 23rd, 2019, 05:27 AM
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Do you mean a case where the Insurance company has paid out on a lost or stolen vessel that subsequently turns up?

I think in that case the vessel could be returned to the owner but expect the insurance company to mount its own investigation into what happened. In the event that they find any evidence of fraud they'll look to recover their payout and bring the full force of the law down on the fraudster.

Remember that a vessel that has been lost or abandoned comes under the rules of salvage. In such a case the bank that owned the mortgage might have a say in its recovery.

A vessel that was stolen will likely be pursued and retaken by the authorities and anyone on board treated as a probable pirates.
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Old July 23rd, 2019, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Reban View Post
Do you mean a case where the Insurance company has paid out on a lost or stolen vessel that subsequently turns up?
Exactly!
Assuming no wrong doing, or nefarious plotting is involved, does the owner get the ship back (he/she has been paid by the insurance company)?

Or, does it become a 'liability' to the insurance company, which now has to dispose of it? Sale, or scrapping, depending on its condition?
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Old July 23rd, 2019, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gchuck View Post
Exactly!
Assuming no wrong doing, or nefarious plotting is involved, does the owner get the ship back (he/she has been paid by the insurance company)?

Or, does it become a 'liability' to the insurance company, which now has to dispose of it? Sale, or scrapping, depending on its condition?
I think option B, the Ins Co has a ship to dispose of, assuming they've paid it off as a total loss. Maybe the pre-loss owner could even buy it back.

As to the tangled mess of other property that may be recovered aboard, possibly after having been paid off as a claim by some other ins co... Ahoy, any maritime lawyers reading?
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Old July 23rd, 2019, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gchuck View Post
Having just re-read 'Giving the bank a fighting chance', in JTAS 16, made me wonder how you all would handle a recovered starship that was thought to be lost or stolen. Not skipped.

Does the insurance company own the ship? Assuming payments were kept up to the point where the loss was reported.

The bank would have some rights, assuming it was still under 'contract'.

Suggestions?
Bank owns it. Discoverer gets costs plus 25% of salable value, assuming they can establish they weren't the cause of the loss.
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Old July 23rd, 2019, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gchuck View Post

Does the insurance company own the ship? Assuming payments were kept up to the point where the loss was reported.
Like a lot of things: it depends. If you have a lot of money and something special to insure then you can negotiate a contract of insurance unique to you with an insurer.

But if you're buying an off the shelf insurance product you'll have to go by the standard terms and conditions.

I've pulled the quote below off a random insurance advice site. If you swap "car" for "starship" it should give you pretty good guidance.

Quote:
What To Expect If Your Car Is Recovered
If your car does turn up again, then it is those few lines that will determine how you should act next.

In most cases, the stance the company will take is that they now own the original property. In other worse, if your car should be found again, it is now down to you to send the car back to the insurance company. You’ll probably need to call and discuss in order to learn how you are required to deliver the car and whether or not you have any other options, such as buying the car back.

Usually, the insurance company will then send round a salvage crew to come and collect your vehicle. By law, it is the responsibility of the insurance company to claim the property – so if you are being asked to pay for it to be transported, then you have the right to refuse.

In some cases, the insurance company may find that the value of the recovered items is not high enough to be worth their while collecting them. In that case, you’ll be able to keep everything. However, it is very important that you still inform the company initially, as otherwise you could find yourself guilty of fraud.

One final complication might be if you have any items inside the car that have importance or sentimental value to you. If you claimed for those items, then technically, they will now be the property of the insurance company too. If you want to try and get them back, then you will need to speak with a representative. In most cases though, you should find they are fairly lenient in these scenarios – they are human too, after all!

Ultimately, it’s a frustrating process either way but all you can do is to follow due process. When your car is stolen, inform the insurance company and the police. If it is returned to you, then make sure to do the same. They should talk you through the rest!
Now I dunno about you but that mention of salvage crews collecting cars.. err ships for insurers and former owners wanting their personal possessions back has me reaching for my jotter of adventure ideas.

Oh and "frustrating process"... I think I'll have the call centre manned by Bwapps
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Old July 23rd, 2019, 01:29 PM
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One thing is for certain. If you do get it back it will be trashed. Stolen cars (in this case applied to starships) rarely were treated with kid gloves. Most are stripped of parts, seriously abused, and if used hard mechanically no longer sound. They are most often totaled by insurers in any case.

So, even if you get it back, I'd say it would be in a condition where you're better off using it for parts than trying to fix it.
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Old July 24th, 2019, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gchuck View Post
Exactly!
Assuming no wrong doing, or nefarious plotting is involved, does the owner get the ship back (he/she has been paid by the insurance company)?

Or, does it become a 'liability' to the insurance company, which now has to dispose of it? Sale, or scrapping, depending on its condition?
Assuming an insurance claim was paid out, no, the owner doesn’t automatically get the ship back. It is the property of the insurer who paid the claim. That claim would have been paid first to the mortgage holder, if any any, with any remaining payment going to the ship owner.

The insurer is going to pursue whatever course of action they think gives them the best recovery in the shortest period of time. The ship might be worth more to its original owner than it is on the auction market, so the owner might very well get it back - by buying it back.
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Old July 24th, 2019, 01:45 AM
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Several ways to play this out. I'd say look to whatever game effect you want as a general principle.

For instance, in Star Citizen the ships are smaller and several orders of magnitude cheaper. Insurance companies regularly replace ships with relatively nominal insurance fees- but that's because it's a personal ship owning milieu in an online game and the idea is to get players back into their ships pretty quick. Upgrades and mods however are not covered normally. That could be a pricing thing for Traveller- standard designs get 50% off total for instance, but any alterations gets into custom pricing.


For me, I just looked at it like how would the bank play it, given that they are going to rig the game to always win?


So I came up with a simple mechanic- the banks are the ones that let the insurance contract, and get paid for the remaining ship principle upon loss. Depending on whether the bank gets full value payout or goes on some sliding scale of payout, and possibly how much insurance investors are actually banks or some investing persons/entities, any ship that is subsequently found after goes to either the insurers or the banks (less repo/salvage cut).

The characters walk with no obligation to pay the remaining loan (assuming no liability from the manner in which the ship was lost), but do not get any consideration/compensation either. They lost their down money, and may have a tough time getting a loan for another ship.

In that situation the characters may not have money coming from the financial world, but they may have motivation for revenge. Also, in a less 'hard' milieu they may have right to get the ship back if they can recapture it.




That's the NICE outcome.


You could also have a milieu where the ship loan is less financial arrangement and more 'sharecropping/serfdom' of either the feudal or the corporate/government type. If the ship is lost, you still have an obligation to 'serve out' the loan, therefore they put you out there with a used, likely repoed equivalent of your previous ship and you HAVE to go out there and pay off the rest of the debt. Otherwise you have to 'pay your debt' someway, and those spice mines are always hungry for indentured servants.

Not sure whether that works with the OTU, but indentured servitude for a limited contract on lost assets might pass muster and be in line with a 'money first' ethos.

Either way, nice aftermarket for all those salvaged/repo ships that need to feed either owners with lost money and a lower entry point to get back into it, or feeding the indentured owner play.


For an extra kick in the pants, I also assume that the ship loans are all paying on interest for the first 20 years, and the principle only starts paying down after the interest is retired. I well know that this isn't how modern finance does most loans, but I'm also assuming a fairly high loss rate on the frontier and banks are playing for century-long planning horizons with policies designed to keep them loaning and ships building and moving freight and passengers.



Now then, straight up insurance where the player gets paid off IMO should be oriented towards personally owned ships- the cost of insuring not only the ship but the remaining loan would be prohibitive.

As a rough guide I'd say 1% of the ship's value per year, paid in one lump sum or divided monthly, 3% for months it operates in Amber Zones and no insurance for Red Zones. No payout if the ship is lost in a Zone that is not insured, or if there is proof of intentional loss or gross negligence.

In this case I would expect a LOT of insurance adjuster investigation, another type of play separate to repo/salvage work.
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Old July 25th, 2019, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enoki View Post
One thing is for certain. If you do get it back it will be trashed. Stolen cars (in this case applied to starships) rarely were treated with kid gloves. Most are stripped of parts, seriously abused, and if used hard mechanically no longer sound. They are most often totaled by insurers in any case.

So, even if you get it back, I'd say it would be in a condition where you're better off using it for parts than trying to fix it.
I wonder how stolen yachts or planes are treated - typically trashed or not? Those might be more in line with starships. Just thinking out loud.
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