The exploits of pirates are exciting on the movie screen, but not much fun for the business owner whose ocean-bound goods they took as booty.
Today the threat of swashbuckling men with an eye-patch and a parrot on the shoulder has been replaced by new risks for containers on the high seas and in the cargo holds of airplanes. As it was centuries ago, shipping goods remains a complicated, risky aspect of international trade.
While it can’t tame the seas or prevent the unexpected, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. has made shipping safer and easier with a broadside of new marine coverages, an online issuance system for ocean cargo insurance certificates and easy access to important Web-based information for Marine customers.
“Shipping products across borders can be complicated, especially for midsize and small businesses, but The Hartford has worked hard to take some of the mystery and risk out of international shipping,” said Scott Shapiro, vice president of commercial marine insurance at The Hartford. “For example, we now provide online references to help our agents guide clients through the uncertainty of strangers doing business with strangers in strange lands.
“The Hartford has simplified certificate issuance and made it totally paperless, while providing more coverage to make the process as safe and easy as possible for our business customers,” added Shapiro.
The certificate can be easily downloaded and quickly sent by e-mail to all parties who need a copy so cargo can be shipped on schedule. The download accepts and attaches the shipping party’s electronic signature allowing the insurance certificate, a once time-consuming and paper-bound process, to now take a completely paperless form.
Along with the electronically issued cargo certificates, The Hartford has enhanced its ocean cargo coverage in a variety of ways including:
· Coverage for the cost of a bond to release legal goods from customs or other governmental agencies;
· Interest-free loan for up to 50 percent of the claim amount while the claim is being finalized;
· Coverage for the additional expense to rush replacement parts, documentation or personnel to repair damaged property;
· Reimbursement of a portion of the insured’s deductible when funds are recovered; and
· More time to report concealed damage claims (120 days).
Since businesses often have little information about the integrity of their off-shore business partners, they could inadvertently ship to a rogue entity, which carries severe penalties under a variety of economic and trade sanctions programs overseen by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
To help The Hartford’s agents assist businesses to comply with the law, The Hartford has provided a link from its agency extranet site to the OFAC site that has OFAC compliance information and lists of entities, individuals and organizations that have been designated by OFAC as having terrorist, drug trafficking or otherwise suspect connections.
In addition, as a sponsor of the International Trade Data Network, The Hartford provides Hartford agents and the businesses it insures with free on-line access to that organization’s export, import and trade-related information, including comprehensive country, industry and market reports.
“International trade is vital to our country’s economy and to the business models of many of our customers. By making ocean cargo certificates quickly and easily available for our customers and providing access to the ITDN resources, The Hartford is doing its part to enhance American exporters’ ability to engage in cross-border commerce,” added Shapiro.