What Is A Bill Of Lading?

When you are in the business of moving and storage, you are no stranger to contracts and legal liability issues. One of the most important contracts you will be responsible for obtaining is a bill of lading.

An agreement between the shipper and the freight carrier, a bill of lading (BOL) works as a receipt of freight services. Failure to provide or maintain a bill of lading could result in serious issues – claims and lawsuits, to name a few. Further, if a BOL you agree upon omits critical information and an issue arises during transport, there could be serious consequences for your company. At Wolpert Insurance, we are more than insurance for moving and storage companies, we are also your trusted source of advice and information.

Since a BOL is a legally binding document, we want you to be sure you understand its purpose and what should be included in it. This week, let’s talk about the purpose of a BOL.

A BOL will serve three different purposes:

1. A receipt issued to the shipper for any merchandise received.
2. A document providing evidence of the legal possession of someone else’s property.
3. The contract of carriage when combined with applicable taxes.

A bill of lading will establish receipts of shipment and the terms and conditions of the services you provide.  Essentially, before you leave any shipment, your delivery will be inspected and compared to what is listed on the BOL. You want to be sure your BOL is accurate and can provide valid proof of receipt.

In order to maintain a stellar reputation in this industry, you want to stay abreast of the industry standards such as a BOL. You also want to be sure you have adequate protection in the form of insurance coverage. At Wolpert, we can help you with all of your movers and storage insurance needs.

Be sure to give us a call today with any questions, and stop by next week for part 2 of BOL 411.

Importance Of Annual Driver Reviews

When you own a moving company, there aren’t many things more important than making sure your drivers live up to your company’s standards of integrity. Obviously, there are federal rules and regulations in place for your drivers to adhere to while operating your commercial vehicles. However, what if they have a less than desirable personal driving record that you know little about? If an employee gets into an accident that results in a liability claim being filed on your moving company insurance, you may wish you had an internal policy in place.

Having an internal policy regarding employee personal driving records is important for any moving company because it allows owners to gauge when the time is right to part ways with an employee.  The FMCSA requires that all businesses that use CMVs to implement annual driving record reviews to take note of any tickets or citations they incurred using their personal vehicle. An employee may have gotten five speeding tickets last year, and without an annual review, you may never know this. This makes the annual review all the more important. When it comes time toperform an employee driving record review, here are some incidents to look out for that may impact your driver’s status:

• Excessive speeding tickets: Over the last twelve months, one of your employees may have gotten a lot of speeding tickets. Would you want this person continuing to operate your vehicles? While they may have never gotten a speeding ticket operating your vehicles, it probably means they just haven’t been caught yet.
• Driving to endanger: Driving to endanger can mean anything from doubling the speed limit, switching lanes dangerously or getting too close to another vehicle. Driving to endanger is a misdemeanor in Massachusetts and result in penalties such as tickets, fines and even jail time depending on the circumstances.
• Driving under the influence: While it’s likely that you would find out if an employee was pulled over for driving under the influence outside of work hours, it is possible something like this could slip through the cracks. By going over your employee’s driving record, you will be able to see any citations or instances of a possible DUI – even if they were not convicted.
• Hit and run: A hit and run can either be a minor or serious offense depending on the situation. However, whether or not your driver hit a pole or parked car and drove away or struck a pedestrian, a hit and run is not something you’ll want to see on their driving record. Hit and run shows that a person lacks responsibility when it comes to being involved in an accident.

Having internal standards for employees in place is necessary for any company that utilizes CMVs to conduct business. By having an internal policy in place, you’ll be able to effectively manage your drivers and what they do on the road, whether it’s operating your company vehicles or their own. For more questions on annual driving record reviews, feel free to contact our movers insurance agency today.

What is Contingent Business Interruption Insurance?

As the owner of a storage warehouse there are many risks that can cause your business to have shut down its operations. Primarily, most businesses are concerned with damages to their immediate property and how it affects their company’s ability to remain open. However, if you’re dependent on a third party supplier or customer to keep your business running and something happens to said third party, you may need a specialized policy apart from your moving and storage insurance. When this happens, you need to make sure you have contingent business interruption insurance to cover any lost costs that occur while your doors are shut.

What is contingent business interruption? 

Contingent business interruption insurance (CBI) is a policy that reimburses a company for lost profits and continuing expenses due to a loss suffered by one or more of its supplies or customers. CBI is different from regular business interruption coverage because it is dependent on losses to the property of a third party, not your actual business property. A CBI policy will be necessary when:

1. Direct physical loss or damage to a dependent property (supplier or customer)
2. The loss or damage is caused by a covered cause of loss
3. The loss results in a suspension of operations at a covered location.

Who needs CBI insurance? 

Foreign suppliers and customers have become very important for businesses, creating interruption exposures that did not exist in the past. However, even if your supplies and customers are local, you may still need CBI anyway. In order to determine whether or not you need CBI, you should identify your supplies and customers and how they may impact your operations. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Can I survive a temporary production stoppage by one or more suppliers? For how long?
2. Do I have alternative supplies?
3. Do I rely on one or a few customers to purchase the majority of my products?

Keep in mind that most CBI policies do not cover losses related to earthquake and flood damage since they are not normally covered under a regular property insurance policy.

At Wolpert Insurance & Risk Management we want owners to understand that, if anything ever happens to either their building or with a third party, we can help. For more information on CBI or your mover’s insurance, give us a call today.

Help Moving Truck Drivers Avoid Movers Insurance Claims

Do your truck drivers understand safety? When it comes to driving moving or storage trucks, it’s necessary that your drivers maintain a great deal of safety so they’re not committing costly errors. What kind of errors could occur? For one, an accident could easily happen. If an accident happens, then the cargo you’re carrying may become damaged as well, leading to possible claims on your mover’s insurance. Thankfully, our agency is here to provide some important information all moving truck drivers should know:

Don’t tailgate: It’s important for all drivers—regardless of the vehicle—to keep a healthy distance between your vehicle and the one in front. The risk greatly supersedes the point of tailing someone. You may think you’re going faster and getting to your destination quicker, but you’re really not making that much of a difference. If the person in front were to suddenly stop short, you could cause serious damage to their rear end and to your truck as well.
Focus: Focus is a large contributor to vehicle accidents. In many cases, the driver will let his or her mind drift away from the task at hand, causing accidents that could have and should have been avoided. Also, we understand that your drivers may have cell phones and will need to be reached, but they should be dissuaded from answering them while driving.
Get the right amount of rest: Commercial drivers have regulations about the sleep needed between driving shifts. It’s important to get sleep and be well-rested because if you’re not, you won’t be in prime condition to operate a commercial vehicle.
Signals: Since you’re driving a larger vehicle than most, your signals are very important to other drivers to let them know what your actions are when it comes to turning or switching lanes. Since you have blind spots, you blinkers are your best friend and will signal drivers to either speed up or slow down to allow you to change lanes.

At Wolpert Insurance & Risk Management we want all of our clients to understand what it takes to be safe drivers on the road. For more information relating to driving moving trucks and how it relates to your moving and storage insurance, feel free to give us a call today to find out more.