TT Club targets shippers
The 44-year old insurer TT Club is now offering coverage for a new group of customers—shippers.
Dan Negron, senior underwriter at TT Club’s office in Jersey City, N.J., said for years the company has insured the liabilities of intermediaries, such as freight forwarders and non-vessel-operating common carriers, if they damage or lose their customer’s cargo, but “it was historically left to the customer to find another avenue to insure his goods on a direct damage basis, if he did not want to get involved in filing a claim or limitations of liability and so forth.”
The coverage it offered intermediaries was based on an ocean bill of lading that may have a liability limit under the Carriage of Goods at Sea Act, or an air waybill that may have a per-kilo limitation of liability under the Warsaw Convention, or a trucker’s waybill or another transportation document.
The new product “dovetails nicely,” he said, because both the shipper and transportation provider are being insured by TT Club.
Negron said the company will offer the coverage through intermediaries, and has no plans to market the coverage directly to manufacturers or carrier customers.
He said the product is attractive because of the speed and efficiency with which a forwarder or other intermediary can offer and arrange full value insurance cover for a client’s cargo.
The process is carried out online. Shippers with open cargo policies provide information about each shipment, and an instant quote is provided. Once the premium has been accepted, an insurance certificate is immediately available. Should a shipment fall outside the parameters of the open policy, an underwriter can look at the individual shipment.
Negron said feedback from customers about the ease of use of the system has been positive, and he added it’s a big improvement on the older “pad and pencil” systems on which forwarders issue insurance certificates and send declarations to the insurance company on a monthly basis with the premium.
“It was difficult to maintain control over that kind of a system,” Negron said. “It was difficult to make sure all shipments were declared and revisions were not made.”
TT Club said the new product not only plugs a potentially critical gap in the risk profile of cargo in transit, it also offers an intuitive and easily administered additional revenue line for forwarders.
TT Club initiated a slow rollout of the product in 2010, but has now begun to market it widely.
“There are many sophisticated shippers in the United States who want to get out of the whole limitation of liability issue,” he said. — Chris Dupin
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