Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Beware the Incorrect email Address is the Warning from Transport Insurers

Lack of Attention Can Cost Tens of Thousands
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – There can be few experienced staff in virtually any industry who are not aware of the dangers of cyber fraud, particularly the simple tactic of using a false email address. However the latest case illustrated by specialist shipping insurer's shows the damage which can occur even if just a simple mistake is made.

The occurrence in question has been described in detail by the International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) which provides professional indemnity insurance to those in the transport community. The case in point occurred when a shipbroker received a claim from their owners for ice dues and winter surcharge on towage at a Baltic port which was to be passed on to the charterers for settlement.

When passing on the claim to the charterers of the vessel the shipbroker sent it to an ‘opsclaim@’ email address. Under the terms of the contract this was incorrect as an address of ‘claims@’ had been clearly specified in the fixture. The shipbroker duly advised the owners that the matter was in hand and the claim forwarded to the charterers.

However it was never confirmed that the charterer had accepted, or even received the claim. The broker chased the charterer for payment regularly by sending emails to the same incorrect email address. Eventually, after 14 months had passed, the broker realised an incorrect email address had been used, but by then the claim had been time barred.

The upshot was that, with the charterer denying all responsibility the broker eventually had to pay the owners the full value of the claim, some $50,000 which was then reimbursed to the broker by ITIC under the indemnity insurance, doubtless with a suitably adverse effect on future premiums.

Photo: Image courtesy of ITIC.