Freight Forwarder Insurance Alaska Policy Information
Freight Forwarder Insurance Alaska. From preparing goods to be shipped, arranging cargo space, tracking packages, handling paperwork - and so much more - freight forwarders have a lot of responsibilities on their plates. Your goal is to ensure that the goods the companies have hired you to ship arrive safely at their final destination. Due to the nature of freight forwarding, organizations in this industry are exposed to a variety of risks.
Freight forwarders and freight agencies organize the shipment of freight from its initial pickup at the shipper's location through final delivery at the receiver's location. Transportation of the cargo from point to point can include various modes of transportation such as trucks, railroads, aircraft and watercraft, with warehousing at some point along the route. Freight forwarders may combine shipments from several customers into one. Services may be limited to domestic shipments or include international operations.
If you operate a AK freight forwarding company, protecting business, your clients, your employees and your own personal assets is crucial. What's the best way to do that? - With the right type of insurance coverage. Why is freight forwarder insurance Alaska so important? What type of coverage do professionals in the forwarding industry need? Find the answers to these questions below.
Freight forwarder insurance Alaska protects your forwarding business from lawsuits with rates as low as $47/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Insurance Is Crucial For Freight Forwarders
Freight forwarders are often referred to as the 'architects of transport'; a very accurate description for the duties that this job entails. While freight forwarding is a vital part of supplies chains and trade, there are various risks and liabilities that companies in this industry assume, such as the damage or loss of cargo, monetary losses, cargo abandonment, delayed deliveries, and document errors; just to name a few.
There's also damage or loss of commercial property to consider, as well as the safety and well-being of employees. For instance, the goods that a freight forwarder was hired to arrange transport for could become damaged or lost in-transit, an employee could sustain a work-related injury, or a warehouse - and the goods inside - could be damaged in a storm.
Despite your best efforts to avoid the risks that are associated with your freight forwarding business, there's always a chance that the unthinkable will happen. When it does, you will be held liable for the damages, and those damages can cost an exorbitant amount. Without insurance, freight forwarders stand to lose a tremendous amount of money and possibly their entire business. Therefore, having the right Freight forwarder insurance Alaska in place is crucial.
When a travesty strikes, insurance will help to cover the losses. In other words, having the right insurance coverage prevents you from losing your own money.
What Type Of Insurance Do Freight Forwarders Need?
Since each freight forwarding business is different, the specific insurance requirements for freight forwarding vary from organization to organization. Some of the factors that will affect the type of insurance coverage an organization needs include the size of the operation, the type of cargo they deal with, where the goods are being shipped (domestic or international shipping), and where exactly the company is located.
While the Freight forwarder insurance Alaska requirements for companies do vary, there are specific types of coverage that all forwarding businesses should carry, including:
- Commercial General Liability - This type of coverage protects you from third-party property and personal injury claims. For instance, if a client claims that the goods you were hired to arrange transportation for were damaged or a vendor sustains an injury while visiting your warehouse and takes legal action, commercial general liability insurance will cover the cost of any legal fees, as well as the damages that you are liable for.
- Commercial Property - With this type of policy, the physical structure of your commercial space, as well as the contents within it, are protected from damages such as fire, theft, and vandalism. For example, if a hail storm damages the roof, windows, and other parts of your building, or if someone breaks into your warehouse and steals equipment, your commercial property insurance would help to cover the cost of repairs, as well as the replacement of any stolen equipment.
- Workers' compensation - Should an employee sustain a work-related injury or be exposed to something that causes an illness while working, workers' comp insurance will pay for the necessary medical care, lost wages, and litigation, should he or she take legal action. For example, if a staff member develops a respiratory disease and it is determined that asbestos in your warehouse is the case, workers' comp insurance will cover the damages.
These are just some of the types of insurance that Alaska freight forwarding companies need to have in place.
AK Freight Forwarding Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is limited due to lack of public access to the premises. Cargo containers stored outside may present an attractive nuisance to minors. Fencing and lighting help reduce this exposure. Contracts with transportation and storage providers may expose the operation to additional liability.
Environmental impairment exposure can be high if there are underground fuel tanks and waste disposal of fluids used for servicing and repairing trucks. All underground fuel tanks must meet state or federal regulations and be routinely tested for leakage. Contracts should be in place to dispose of all environmentally dangerous chemicals. Spill procedures must be in place to prevent the accidental discharge of sludge from water reclamation systems used in washing trucks.
Workers compensation exposure depends on the amount of freight handled by employees of the freight forwarder. If workers are involved in handling and/or storage of cargo, there is an increased exposure to injuries due to strains, sprains and back injuries. Proper lifting techniques must be taught and safety equipment provided. Garage employees can be injured by vehicles falling from hoists, strains, sprains and other lifting injuries. Good housekeeping is critical to reduce injury from slips, trips, and falls.
Burns, eye injuries, and respiratory problems can occur with the welding and painting. Dermatitis can result from employees coming into contact with harsh cleaning detergents. Repair areas should be properly ventilated. Proper safety equipment is required. Drivers must operate in adverse traffic conditions such as inclement weather or road construction. They must be monitored to ensure that an appropriate amount of time is allocated for sleep.
Property exposures may be limited to electrical, heating and cooling systems for an office. All electrical wiring must be up to code. If the forwarder stores customers' goods at an owned warehousing facility, the types of goods handled and stored may increase the exposure to both fire and theft. Theft protection should be appropriate for the types of goods stored and the location. Additional property exposures can result if the freight forwarder repairs, refuels, and maintains its own vehicles on premises.
Exposures include flammable liquids, including gasoline and diesel fuel, and heat-producing activities such as welding. Flammable liquids and heat-producing activities must be separated from combustibles to prevent fire and explosion. All spray-painting should be conducted in a spray booth with approved fixtures. The condition and controls of fuel tanks, whether above or below ground, are important for both property and environmental liability.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty and money and securities. Background checks, including criminal history, should be performed on all employees handling money. Freight forwarding operations involve a number of transactions and accounts that can be manipulated. There must be a separation of duties between persons handling deposits, billing, ordering, disbursements and reconciling bank statements. Regular internal and external audits should be conducted.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable, bailees, computers, goods in transit, and valuable papers and records. Customers' property may be damaged while being transported due to overturn, collision, or theft. Cargo containers should have locks and appropriate alarm systems. Coverage for customers' goods may be purchased using a motor truck cargo carrier coverage with modifications, or companies may offer coverages that are specifically designed for this type of operation. Any items in storage must be marked to prevent incorrect release. All data must be duplicated and kept off site for easy replication in the event of a loss.
Commercial auto exposure may be high if the freight forwarder is involved in one or more legs of the transportation process. Loading and unloading of freight is included on the auto policy. There may be considerable opportunity for contact with the client, who can be injured should the movers drop or overturn cargo. Children may be present during loading or unloading operations, requiring additional caution. All drivers must have training in lifting and handling or items being carried.
They must be well trained and have valid licenses for the items being transported and the type of vehicle being driven. In some cases, a commercial driver's license (CDL) will be required. MVRs must be acceptable and run on a regular basis. Random drug and alcohol testing should be required. Vehicles must be well maintained with records kept at a central location. Accidents can result in the spillage of diesel fuel or other operating fluids from within the truck, requiring cleanup.
Freight Forwarding Insurance
To find out exactly what type of policies you need and how much coverage you should carry, speak with a reputable insurance broker who knows your business.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Commercial Auto Insurance
Learn about small business commercial auto insurance which includes liability and physical damage protection for vehicles that are used for business purposes.
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The person injured in an vehicle accident may be a child, a wage earning single parent, a brain surgeon, or even a homeless person. The costs of the accident may be relatively small or run into the millions of dollars, depending on the victim and his or her injuries. Do you have the assets to handle such costs?
Trucking operations in this chapter are among the most heavily regulated in the country. All are subject to multiple types of regulation including municipal, state and federal. The regulations are necessary because potential for severe property damage and/or bodily injury is extremely high.
All carry cargo that if not handled appropriately could have serious consequences to the cargo owner and/or the public at large. Those that carry people must prove that they keep their equipment in good condition and that employees operate in a safe, sober manner.
The insurance company pays amounts an insured is legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury or property damage and certain types of pollution events covered by this insurance caused by an accident and resulting from ownership, maintenance or use of covered vehicles.
The obligation to pay is triggered only by accidental occurrences involving vehicles covered under the Business Auto Coverage Form. An eligible pollution event is covered only if it is connected to a covered bodily injury or property damage loss.
It is important that you have the proper Limit of Insurance to protect your operations. This limit is the most the insurance company pays for the total of all damages, including any covered pollution cost or expense resulting from any one covered accident, is the Covered Auto liability limit of insurance on the declarations.
This limit applies regardless of the number of insureds, autos covered, vehicles involved in an accident, premium paid, or number of claims made.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Building, Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Accounts Receivables, Computers, Motor Truck Cargo, Valuable Papers and Records, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Umbrella, Motor Carriers Liability and Physical Damage, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Earthquake, Flood, Mobile Equipment, Signs, Warehouse Operators' Legal Liability, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Environmental Impairment, Underground Storage Tank, Stop Gap Liability and International Coverages.
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Also find AK local small businesses by General Liability Class Code and learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.