Marine Cargo Insurance Claims Services by Vervo Middle East in the UAE for cargo shipping and logistics solutions in Dubai

How To File Successful Marine Insurance Claims

In maritime shipping, the safety of cargo transported across the globe's blue expanses is not guaranteed by the sturdiness of ships alone. That is why marine insurance stands as the first line of defense against the unpredictable.

Yet, when the time comes to file a claim, many find themselves in uncharted waters. The process of filing a claim is straightforward but detail-oriented and requires attention to policy specifics and language, deadlines, and procedural accuracy. Meanwhile, claim denials can surface, grounded in reasons like improper packaging or inadequate insurance coverage.

In this article:

1) The process of filing a claim.
2) Common reasons for denials.
3) Tips for successful claim resolution.


What Is Marine Insurance?

Marine insurance is a specialized type of coverage designed to protect the cargo in transit during transport over sea, air, and land.

Marine insurance safeguards goods from the risks of transit, and its coverage can extend beyond cargo in transit to include related risks throughout the entire supply chain. These risks are not typically covered by standard carrier liability. 

Risks can include loss, damage, or theft due to any reason, like loading and unloading accidents, shortages and non-delivery, damage during port stays or inland transit, acts of God, errors of navigation, and more!

At its core, marine insurance is about transferring the risk from the owner of the goods to the insurance company. Marine insurance policies are designed to be flexible and can be tailored to cover a wide spectrum of goods. While the term 'marine' implies oceanic travel, the policies have evolved and the coverage has extended to cover all transportation modes and different scopes, like “from warehouse to warehouse" or “from door to door,” providing a customizable financial shield.

The different types of coverage can include an "all-risk" policy for comprehensive protection or a more restricted "named perils" policy, depending on your assessment of the risks your cargo might face. The insurance typically covers the cargo for its full commercial value and can also include the cost of shipping plus a percentage to cover potential profits lost.

As we delve deeper into the intricacies of marine insurance claims, remember that the right coverage is not just about having a policy in place—it's about understanding and choosing the coverage that aligns with your logistic needs and commercial objectives, so in the times of filing claims, you get it done the right way.

The Comprehensive Process of Filing a Marine Insurance Claim

Phase Actions

Before Shipment

  • Evaluate risks associated with cargo and shipment route (route conditions, seasonal weather, geopolitical climates).
  • Review and verify insurance policy alignment with goods' nature and destination-specific risks.
  • Maintain organized records of shipping documents (invoices, insurance policy, packing lists, bill of lading/airway bill).

Upon Shipment

  • Inspect cargo before sealing and shipping. 
  • Ensure good condition and proper packing of items. 
  • Record condition with photos and notes and attach them to B/L or AWB.
  • Confirm the cargo count and documentation accuracy (seal numbers on containers, etc.)
  • Clarify incident-response procedures with the carrier — Know who to contact immediately.

Upon Intimation of Loss or Damage

Step 1: Notification and Preliminary Actions

  • Record the loss or damage notification source swiftly.
  • Determine the incident location and cargo condition.
  • Notify the insurer to appoint a surveyor, initiate the claim process, and request your claim number.

Step 2: Claim Documentation:

  • Gather evidence of damage or loss (photos, notifications, preliminary surveys).
  • Obtain detailed accounts of the damage from individuals involved in the handling of the goods.
  • Ensure follow-up of verbal communications with written confirmations.

Step 3: On-Site Actions:

  • Arrange for a joint damage assessment survey with the carrier and surveyor if possible. 
  • Match package numbers and weight, and tally with B/L upon arrival.
  • Scrutinize the cargo before you acknowledge receipt.
  • Any signs of tampering or damage? Photograph them.
  • Make detailed notations on the delivery receipt or freight document (the type and extent of the damage, the suspected cause, the date, and your signature, counter-signed by the carrier).
  • Containerized cargo? If the container seal is broken or mismatched, halt the process and notify the insurer without opening the container until a surveyor is present.

Step 4: Filing Initial Notices:

  • Identify the claim stage (international or inland transit).
  • File a written notice of loss with the carrier within the required timeframe (usually 3 days for sea cargo and 14 days for airfreight).
  • Send notice with proof of receipt (Registered Post A/D, hand delivery).

Post-Intimation Actions

Step 5: Detailed Documentation Collection

  • Collect all required documents (original insurance certificate, invoice, packing list, B/L or AWB).
  • Obtain additional documents as needed (damage/shortage certificates, loading/stuffing reports).

Step 6: Survey Report and Claim Filing

  • Obtain a detailed survey report with color photos from the surveyor.
  • File a comprehensive claim with the insurer, including your statement of claim and all supporting documentation.

Step 7: Customs and Other Claims

  • File for customs duty abatement, remission, or refund, if applicable.
  • Follow customs authority procedures and time limits for duty refunds.

Step 8: Salvage and Recovery Actions

  • In cases where salvage is an option, decide on salvage disposal in consultation with surveyor and insurer.
  • Recover or compensate for losses as per the surveyor's guidance.

Final Steps

Step 9: Submission and Follow-Up

  • Submit the complete claim package to the insurer or claim-settling agent.
  • Regularly follow up and promptly respond to additional information requests.

Step 10: Claim Resolution

  • Review the settlement from the insurer to ensure it aligns with policy terms and the extent of the loss.
  • Engage in negotiations if needed and provide additional evidence to support the claim.

Common Reasons For Denials.

Common reasons for claim denials often stem from issues related to documentation, policy terms, and the nature of the cargo loss or damage.

✅ Inadequate documentation: If you fail to provide a complete set of documents, such as the bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list, and a detailed survey report, the claim may be denied. Also, if the paperwork submitted is inaccurate or contains inconsistencies, it can raise red flags, leading to a refusal.

✅Misinterpretation of Coverage Terms: Some policyholders may misunderstand the scope of their "all-risks" coverage.  Some marine insurance policies, while comprehensive, do not cover each and every conceivable peril. Claims that fall outside the specifically agreed-upon terms will be denied.

✅ Exclusion clauses in the insurance policy: Every marine insurance policy comes with specific exclusions that delineate scenarios where coverage is not provided. Common exclusions include damages due to inherent vice, delay, or losses resulting from insufficient packaging, all of which are often overlooked by policyholders

✅ Under-Insurance and Deductibles: If the declared value of the goods is less than their actual value, a condition known as under-insurance, claims can be proportionally reduced or denied. Furthermore, policyholders sometimes overlook the deductible amounts, leading to disputes when the claim is for an amount less than the deductible.

✅ Improper packing or late notifications: Improper packing falls under the shipper's responsibility. This extends to incorrect labeling or stowage, which can lead to damages that the insurance company is not liable for. Similarly, timely communication following a loss is critical; delays can compromise the ability to assess damages accurately, thus giving insurers grounds for denial.

Tips For Successful Claim Resolution.

The process of filing marine insurance claims requires strategic foresight and meticulous attention to detail. To enhance the likelihood of a successful claim process, consider the following advanced tips:

1️⃣Consult with a marine insurance advisor to fully understand your policy's coverage, exclusions, and endorsements. Also, assess the risks for each shipment, factoring in the cargo's nature, packaging, carrier reputation, and route hazards.
2️⃣Accurately value and declare cargo to prevent disputes from under-insurance.
3️⃣Understand shipment Incoterms to delineate responsibilities and liabilities.
4️⃣Keep thorough records of all shipping documents and communications.
5️⃣Promptly notify insurers after any incident to avoid late notification issues. Don't sign off on a clean receipt without a full inspection, and use registered post or hand delivery for proof of notifications.
6️⃣Promptly engage approved surveyors for unbiased assessments and, if possible, joint surveys. Classify the claim by transit stage to direct the next steps.
7️⃣Act to mitigate further loss and salvage cargo, influencing claim outcomes positively.
8️⃣Protect your insurer's rights by holding liable third parties accountable.
9️⃣ Acknowledge legal time bars for notices and claims; delays can affect claim success.
🔟Document all loss details meticulously for a strong claim, including photos, reports, and expert opinions. Be proactive in your claim follow-ups.

Marine Insurance Services in the UAE and Globally

At Vervo Middle East, our team of expert logistics specialists acts tirelessly on behalf of you.

We partner with highly reputable independent insurance partners in the UAE and worldwide to offer the most convenient marine insurance policy services in the heart of the UAE and beyond.

We ensure that each detail is meticulously managed to secure your interests. With over 300,000 cargoes performed, our global team prides itself on offering comprehensive marine insurance coverage, crafted to meet the dynamic needs of different cargo types.

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