Claims are an unfortunate part of doing business in the perishable produce industry. As a review, claims in the transportation industry are most often related to product quality, temperature abuse, or damage (shifted loads and accidents). While we work to eliminate and reduce the amount of claims that occur, there are instances where they are unavoidable.

This week, we review the common types of claims we deal with, and some steps that go in to the process of resolving a claim situation.

There are two main types of claims that UWT deals with: vendor claims and carrier claims. In either instance, the notification of a claim (carrier or vendor) will come from the Driver who is delivering the load, or through what is known as a “Disposition Notice” from the Customer; UWT generally receives notification from our Driver first.  When a Driver calls and notifies UWT of a claim, the call is handled by a member of our Customer Service team (CSR).

Immediate Steps that Must Be completed in the Event of any Claim

Once a call is received from a driver regarding a claim, the UWT Customer Service Rep:

  1. Requests details of the claim/rejection and requests the driver to send records to UWT. The records UWT initially requires from the driver are: photos of the product that is being rejected, temperature recorder reading printouts (if available), and signed copies of the Bills of Lading.
  2. Enters the information (i.e. the product, number of cases/pallets, apparent reason for claim, any information provided by the receiver to the Driver, etc.) into UWT’s TMS Software. Detailed record collecting is crucial in any claim situation, and as such, we like to start this process as soon as possible.
  3. Advises the Driver to wait at the warehouse until we receive the “Disposition Notice” from Customer.
  4. Asks the Driver if the warehouse has provided them any information.  Often at this point of the process, the Driver may become aware of what type of claim this will be based on information from the warehouse.
  5. Contacts Customer for the “Disposition Notice” if this not already received.

Vendor Claims

Vendor Claims are typically related to product quality or inaccurate temperature of product PRIOR to the shipment being transferred to carrier custody.

Below, the general process we follow for vendor claims:

Once the “Disposition Notice” is received for a Vendor claim, the UWT Customer Service Rep:

  1. Confirms any missing information regarding the re-delivery of the rejected (or partially rejected) load with the Customer and gets the contact information for the Vendor.
  2. Advises the Driver that for Vendor claims they will be paid a redelivery charge as well as any overnights they incur, if these are applicable.
  3. Reconfirm delivery information and obtain a Purchase Order number or Delivery number for the shipment.
  4. Contacts the Receiver to arrange delivery of the rejected load.
  5. Contacts Driver with re-delivery information.
  6. Updates the dispatch software with a “2nd drop” to reflect the redelivery information.
  7. Updates the dispatch software with a status of “Delivered” once re-delivery is completed.

Carrier Claims

Carrier Claims are typically related to product quality damages due to temperature abuse in transit, damage caused by shifted loads and accidents.

Below, the general process UWT follows for carrier claims:

Once the “Disposition Notice” from the Customer is received noting the claim as a Carrier claim, the UWT Customer Service Rep:

  1. Contacts the Driver to release them from the Customer warehouse, to let them know that no further action will be taken by the Customer on this particular load. For claims that appear to be a Carrier issue, the Carrier is to be notified that they will be contacted by a representative in UWT’s Carrier Relations-Claims Department.
  2. Updates the UWT TMS software with a status that notes the load has a claim pending.
  3. At this point, UWT’s Carrier Relations-Claims Department takes over, and immediately contacts the Driver to:
    • Advise them of the details of the claim.
    • Instructs the Driver (or Carrier Dispatcher) to contact their insurance company and wait for instructions from the Adjustor, as the insurance company will be responsible for the disposition of the product.
    • Advises Drivers that, if they choose not to use their insurance for the claim, that UWT will make every effort to assist in the disposition of the rejected product.  It is the Carrier’s right and responsibility to decide whether they pursue coverage under their insurance policy.
    • Contacts the Customer and/or the Vendor to determine the cost of the rejected product. This information is forwarded to the Driver/Carrier Company.  Note that time is of the essence here to avoid any further degradation of the rejected product.
    • Continues to monitor and follow up with all details of the claim, until it is closed out.

Loads Requiring “Protection”

This situation occurs when the Customer believes there may be an issue with the product that is Carrier related and most likely having to do with temperature of the product based on arrival pulp temperatures and temperature recorder reading. However Customer/receiver agrees to take product in order to sell it but wants to be covered for the value for any product that cannot be sold or has to be sold at a discount. The Carrier should be advised that approving “Protection” means that the Customer is obligated under PACA rules to maximize the return on the product they are selling but that they reserve the right to deduct from the CARRIER/UWT any shortages they encounter. The carrier must also be advised that if they deny “Protection” then this would become a full CARRIER claim. 

So there you have it: a quick review of the claims and insurance process for the produce industry. Remember, if you are a driver delivering a load and are being told it might be a claim, or if there is any other issue, contact UWT immediately! If you have any questions or need further information on the claims and insurance process, contact our carrier relations department via email or toll free 866.986.7410.

Claims and the Insurance Process was last modified: by