History of the Board
In March and April of 1865 a group of marine underwriters, insurance agents and adjusters met in San Francisco to agree on some common rules for handling marine loss adjustments. The outcome of this meeting was the adoption of "Rules and Customs of Marine Insurance Applicable to the Settlement and Payment of Losses in General and Particular Average; also to Salvage and Total Losses." These rules were ratified by the board of Underwriters and approved by the Chamber of Commerce of the City of San Francisco.
In August of the same year, perhaps as an outgrowth of this meeting, the local marine underwriters formed themselves into the board of Marine Underwriters of San Francisco. The board held monthly meetings at which the company representatives agreed on such matters as minimum rates for hull and cargo risks, standard insuring conditions and the appointment of agents at U.S. and foreign ports. Over the years committees were established to handle specific issues, such as the quoting of war and strike risk during the maritime and general strikes of the 1930's.
The board employed their own surveyors, who provided both conditions and loss surveys for the local underwriters. The surveying business flourished, and eventually survey offices were established in Vancouver, Seattle, Grays harbor, Portland and Wilmington. Much of the surveyors' work consisted of log rafts. After the Second World War the nucleus of surveying staff went to the U.S. Salvage Association and subsequently to the National Cargo Bureau. Another major activity of the Board was the operation of the hull loss adjustment committee. This committee reviewed hull adjustments for accuracy, and provided a valuable training ground for claims personnel.
In 1984 the Board became affiliated with the American Institute of Marine Underwriters (AIMU). Membership now consists of marine underwriting organizations who maintain underwriting offices or representatives in the Western United States and who are corporate members of AIMU. At present there are some fifteen companies who are active members of the Board.
There is a close relationship between the Board and the AIMU. The Chairman of the AIMU is an ex-officio director of the Board, and the President of the Board is an ex-officio director of the AIMU. The Board also nominates a West Coast representative to each of the AIMU standing committees.
As one of San Francisco's oldest corporations, today the Board primarily maintains an educational role. It sponsors the Biennial Marine Seminar and also holds breakfast meetings, which feature a variety of speakers from the marine community. More recently the Board publishes a newsletter, The Pacific Coast Forum.