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Bill of Lading Legal Liability Insurance

Last updated on April 6th, 2021

A freight forwarder who arranges for movement of customers’ freight may mistakenly believe he is not exposed to claims alleging damage to that freight if he does not physically handle it. This is not the case, however. If a bill of lading is issued in your name (such as an NVOCC or house air waybill) or if you occasionally hold freight at your office for short periods of time, you can be held liable for damage.

Operating a warehouse and performing local cartage services creates a legal responsibility for the cargo while it is in your custody. Limitations of liability written into your warehouse receipt or bill of lading do not apply if a value is declared on the bill of lading and may, in fact, be overturned under some circumstances.

Roanoke can provide you with protection broad protection, including for:

  • Domestic Forwarders: Domestic freight forwarders issue bills of lading for their shipments and are designated as common carriers (non asset-based) by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Since the contract of carriage (bill of lading) is between the domestic forwarder and the cargo owner, the domestic forwarder will be first in line for any claims for cargo loss/damage. In essence, this insurance is very similar to an asset-based common carrier’s Motor Truck Cargo insurance policy, and Roanoke offers it to our domestic common carrier clients. The policy will defend you against all allegations, and pay claims where you are found to be negligent.
  • Indirect Air Carriers: When acting as an indirect air carrier, the transportation intermediary issues a house air waybill, which presumably stipulates limited levels of liability for cargo loss or damage based on the governing international airfreight treaty or applicable statutory law. If cargo is lost or damaged during transit under your house air waybill, your company is first in line for claims. Bill of Lading Legal Liability insurance will pay the cost of the legal defense in addition for the cost of the ultimate settlement per the policy terms if your company is found liable.
  • NVOCC: Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers have a legal liability for cargo loss or damage as prescribed by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA). This liability is fixed at $500 USD per customary shipping unit; however, this is a somewhat vague and contentious term. If cargo is lost or damaged while moving under your house bill of lading, your company is first in line for claims. This insurance will pay the cost of the legal defense, and any indemnities based on your negligence.

Roanoke: Providing Creative Solutions for Transportation Intermediaries and Logistics Service Providers

Roanoke understands the intricacies of Cargo insurance and Transportation Liability for logistics providers, and is strategically positioned to guide you through this complex process. Find out how we can provide you with the insurance programs you need to be properly protected. Please contact us at 1-800-ROANOKE or complete the Contact form located above.