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Ocean Marine is the oldest line of insurance. Merchants trading goods over waterways developed the earliest concept of minimizing risk. Traders shipping goods along the Nile usually divided and loaded shipments onto more than one vessel. Using several barges meant that the loss of one shipment would only result in a partial loss.

Ocean Marine coverage protects interested parties against the financial consequences of direct damage or loss of property as well as from their legal liability related to owning or operating a vessel. Ocean Marine policies protect craft of many types such as cruisers, barges, tankers and tugboats that are used on either "blue waters" (oceans) or "brown waters" (lakes, rivers). The policies are also used to insure cargo while shipped between their destination points.

Inland Marine is a varied and flexible line of business. While it shares elements that are found in Property, Automobile, Ocean Marine and Liability coverage, it also has features that are distinct from any of its peer lines of business. Inland Marine coverage protects a wide variety of property. It is used to protect portable commercial property such as construction equipment. It is also critically used to protect tunnels, bridges and other property that facilitates non-marine travel.

For help in identifying inland marine exposures, insurance professionals use a standard called the Nationwide Inland Marine Definition that was developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Last revised in 1976, it still acts as the major source of reference used by states to guide their approach in recognizing what classes of property are members of the Inland Marine Family.

While inland marine policy language is very similar to other types of insurance, ocean marine is not. Maritime law still heavily influences the latter and its policy wording reflects that unique heritage. If you need such protection, talk to your insurance professional who should be able to provide access to a specialty insurance carrier.

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