Every carrier, from the very largest down to the single owner-operator, is charged with keeping their customer’s freight intact and undamaged.
To this end, most of them have some sort of cargo insurance built in to one or more insurance policies. However, it’s easy to assume that someone else somewhere along the chain has taken care of the insurance requirements. For example, independent contractors who own their own truck but are leased to a carrier might assume the carrier has taken care of cargo insurance.
Unfortunately, these truck owners often learn differently when a cargo claim is received.
In a perfect shipping world, cargo claims wouldn’t exist at all.
However, even when drivers are extremely careful to block and brace shipments and drive carefully to prevent load shifts, damaged freight is sometimes loaded into the trailer of an unsuspecting driver. Or a leak from a single box trickles down to ruin the whole pallet. Or, perhaps, a box or two shifts during transport.
Any of these things can happen, and a load that looked perfect when the trailer doors were closed and sealed turns out to be damaged.
Many carriers already have cargo insurance, but they sometimes haul more valuable loads that require a higher level of insurance. At other times, the insurance in effect has exclusions and won’t cover the load that’s already been picked up.
It’s customary for the truck owner to contact their insurance agent to purchase a rider that provides coverage. But what happens if it’s the weekend and the agent isn’t answering? And what happens when the insurance company doesn’t cover the product being hauled?
One fairly recent entry into the trucking market is the insurtech segment. Driven by technology, this segment offers convenient 24/7 access to insurance policies that can be purchased without speaking directly with an agent.
One such company is MiKargo247. CEO and co-founder Michele McGinnis says the company is built for speed.
“Let’s say you’re hauling a load of steel, and you need $900,000 worth of insurance for that load,” she said. “It would be costly for you to add that coverage to your policy and only need it a few times a year.”
According to McGinnis, MiKargo247 offers near-instant spot cargo insurance.
“You put in the commodity you’ll be hauling, the value, and the origin and destination zip codes and hit ‘Get Instant Quote,’” she explained. “It will give you the total mileage and the amount of the policy.”
Information on the company website claims that a quote takes just 10 seconds. If you decide to purchase — and there’s no obligation to do so — the whole process takes two minutes or less. Also, there’s no obligation to sign up or provide contact information if you don’t purchase the insurance.
“I encourage people to go on the website and run quotes and look at it as much as they want,” McGinnis said. “You won’t get charged. You’re not going to get emails. Also, it’s just as easy to use from a cellphone as a laptop, because it’s meant for the driver.”
The insurance is provided through Roanoke Insurance Group from Schaumburg, Illinois, and underwritten by Lloyd’s of London.
MiKargo247 has entered into agreements with the apps Trucker Path and Loadlink, allowing truck owners who are working with a broker to access MiKargo247 and get a quote for cargo insurance before they accept a load.
That’s important when negotiating with a broker. Accepting a load at a particular rate only to find the cost of cargo insurance will take most or all of the profit isn’t a scenario any owner wants to be in.
MiKargo247’s quick quote feature also makes it possible for owners to “shop” for the best deal on cargo insurance without making multiple phone calls.
Owners who decide to take the insurance have the option of creating a profile with MiKargo247. For repeat users, having a profile saves time, because all the information is already in the system and there’s no need to re-enter important details. Credit card information, however, is not saved. This avoids the possibility of hackers obtaining customers’ data.
McGinnis stresses another feature of the MiKargo247 product.
“It’s ‘all-risk’ insurance, so it covers driver error, theft and other occurrences and maybe even a product your regular policy doesn’t cover,” she noted.
Policy “riders,” on the other hand, may increase the coverage amount of the original policy but with the same restrictions and exclusions as the policy.
If it becomes necessary to file a cargo insurance claim, MiKargo247 can help with that, too.
“It’s all handled through Roanoke,” McGinnis said. “There’s no need to be chasing down two insurance agents, one for the base policy and one or the rider.”
Claims can be filed directly on the MiKargo247 website, without having to call an insurance agent. The documents needed to file a claim are listed on the website, along with a list of excluded commodities.
To be sure, MiKargo247 isn’t the only company to ride the technology wave.
“Yes, there are other companies that offer this,” McGinnis said. “I believe that we are the fastest. It’s true that once someone has used us, they come back over and over and over. That’s really exciting.”
Truckers who have questions don’t have to rely on the FAQ page of the website, according to McGinnis.
“We don’t discourage people from calling us,” she said. “I mean, I pick up the phone and call you back.”
For added convenience, McGinnis has posted her phone number (971-804-5254) and her email address ([email protected]) on the website.
When a shipper or broker requires additional cargo insurance — or you just want to be protected from cargo claims your current policy won’t handle — MiKargo247 and similar insurtechs can help.
Cliff Abbott is an experienced commercial vehicle driver and owner-operator who still holds a CDL in his home state of Alabama. In nearly 40 years in trucking, he’s been an instructor and trainer and has managed safety and recruiting operations for several carriers. Having never lost his love of the road, Cliff has written a book and hundreds of songs and has been writing for The Trucker for more than a decade.