Taking the burden out of cargo claims

All of the objects around you will have at some point been part of a cargo consignment by way of import, export, domestic transit – and may have also been in storage

All of these scenarios will have exposed that product to risk, and in turn that risk should have been protected – physically with adequate packing, protection and stowage and also by cargo insurance.

It is estimated that over half of goods transported around the globe remain uninsured, which is a significant risk for any importer or exporter to bear by way of self-insurance, considering that just a small General Average claim could amount to thousands and take many months, if not years to settle – and the party responsible for insurance under the agreed incoterm at the point that general average is declared, doesn’t even have to have suffered a loss to legally have to contribute to the general average pot.

The potentially hidden obligations and the complex nature of cargo claims makes cargo insurance an absolute must for importers and exporters. We understand that dealing with cargo losses can be a burden on resource and finances, and this is why our claims management service is at the forefront of our Cargo Insurance offering.

Our aim is to take on the responsibility of handling the loss to a satisfactory conclusion and to make the claims process both fast and seamless for NMU Cargo policyholders.

Fast and fair claims settlement for losses up to GBP2,500

We recognise the importance of enabling our policyholders to resume their operations and manage day-to-day business as quickly as possible after a loss. To speed up the claims process, our innovative Fast Track Claims solution allows for small losses to be submitted electronically via a simple web portal.

NMU Cargo policyholders can submit claims of GBP2,500 or less (before application of any deductible) via our Fast Track Claims facility.

Losses submitted via NMU Fast Track Claims don’t normally require any formal supportive documentation, are handled by a dedicated in-house team of experts to process settlement and paid directly to policyholders via BACS within 72 working hours of submission, if the criteria are met.

Larger or more complex losses

Time is of the essence here – Report claims as soon as you become aware of a problem. We can then give advice about what to do and about the information and documentation that we will need to progress the claim.

If goods are missing, prompt intervention may lead to their recovery. We’ve highlighted 7 tips in order to help before the trail goes cold;

1 Check goods on arrival

Clause carriers’ receipts to note any damage or shortage that is apparent on delivery.

Check that container seal numbers match those on the documentation and note any discrepancy on the delivery receipt.

Open any such containers immediately, to check their contents.

Retain irregular or defective seals.

2 Hold third parties liable

Most cargo loss or damage arises while the goods are in the care custody or control of a third party. Make written claims against responsible third parties such as carriers, shipping lines, airlines or forwarders as soon as possible, within their required time limits (which can be found in the conditions of carriage).

Although they may be able to limit their liability for loss or damage (under their trading conditions), those third parties should always be held accountable. (1)

Once claims under cargo policies are paid, we will take up recovery rights under subrogation. (2)

Certain regimes require carriers to be given the opportunity to inspect loss or damage for themselves. (3)

Most carriers’ or forwarders’ trading conditions require claims to be made within a specified (usually short) time period, particularly where loss or damage was not noted on arrival.

3 Mitigate the loss

Take steps to mitigate losses, for example by sorting wet or damaged goods from sound.

4 Report crimes to Police

Report malicious damage, theft or suspected theft to the Police.

5 Claim forms and documentation

A claim form is not required, all that we need are details of the loss or damage and some supporting documents, as below.

To help you, we do have a notification form that you can use to help gather all this together; but don’t delay contacting us while waiting for this to be completed by the policyholder or for anything else.

Contact us as soon as possible on 0161 236 3380 or e-mail claims@nmu.co.uk.

6 Surveys

To keep claims costs down, we don’t normally instruct surveyors unless loss or damage is likely to exceed GBP2,500.

7 Entitlement to Claim

In export sales on CIF or CIP terms, it is customary for the insurance to be assigned to the seller by the buyer. If a certificate has been issued to an overseas customer, they can present their claim to the local Lloyd’s Agent.

Whether the buyer or the seller has title to the goods at the time of loss will depend on the terms of sale, which are likely to incorporate the Incoterms Rules. These rules specify when and where risk in the goods passes from the buyer to the seller.

Marc Thomasson, NMU Claims Manger stressed the importance promptly acting on a loss “The reputation of every insurer depends upon the quality of its claims service, and this is never truer than when policyholders suffer a large or complicated loss event. The sooner we are told about a claim, the sooner we can help – which is what we are here to do.

“We pride ourselves on prompt and efficient claims management, supported by the use of technology and I genuinely believe that with over 150 years’ experience within our claims team, we have technical expertise that allows us to operate at levels which separate us from the rest of the market.

“The introduction of the Fast Track Claims portal is a further example of our unique and flexible offerings to the market which is designed to minimise the hassle of submitting qualifying claims thereby allowing policyholders involved to getting back to running their business as soon as possible after a loss.”

With one of the most comprehensive, but yet clear and easy to understand cargo wordings in the UK market which includes our claims management service and supply chain analysis in conjunction with BSI – Our Cargo insurance offers the complete solution.

For more information about cargo insurance, claims or risk control, contact your NMU Development Underwriter.

Related tags


News: War and Strikes Risks Update | 22nd June 2022

Although various risk scores have been updated this month – as they are every month – there... read more


News: A Review of Cargo Crime in 2021

In 2021, the evolving supply chain landscape, characterised by a pandemic, an opening up of the economy... read more


News: Wellness days – 16th and 17th June

Since 2020 we have given our colleagues well-deserved wellness days, where we encourage everyone to take the time out... read more