It is known that the vast majority of shipments are
contracted FOB, and that receivers therefore cover the marine insurance. As a
result their relationship and arrangements with the providers of that cover are
not of direct interest, but exporters need to understand why the receiver claims
from them, rather than from the carrier or the carrier's insurance company.
The burden of proof rests on the shipper unless and
until there is concrete evidence that the loss or damage was due to an external
event that took place after the container was closed and sealed. At the same
time it must be appreciated that serious partners of good standing are not
interested in claiming loss or damage where it does not exist. Some receivers
therefore take the trouble to immediately inform shippers when they believe
there could be a claim on an arrival, perhaps adding a digital photograph
showing the problem (e.g. wetness, mould or clotting of the beans).
Depending on the type of problem the shipper is then
given a time limit within which to respond, for example by arranging for an
appointed representative to witness the discharging. Since the shipper has only
insured till FOB it is unlikely that their own insurance company will become
involved, unless of course the evidence suggests that the damage or loss could
have occurred before loading. As a precaution, shippers are therefore always
advised to transmit such claims to their underwriters.
Even so, damage due to the improper selection of a
container, improper lining or stowing etc. is never part of the insurance cover
to FOB unless it has been expressly agreed (liability insurance for faulty
workmanship). Unexplained differences in weight or number of bags will also not
be covered unless the cover was against loss in weight 'irrespective of cause',
something few underwriters will consider.