Cargo theft in 2020 is leaving shippers very unmerry this holiday season

Story by

Johnny Mccord

Tags /

  • Cargo Theft
  • Inclusive
  • Risk

Unsurprisingly, cargo theft has spiked again. It’s peak holiday season, after all, and high-value electronics and cold chain loads are being transported to small shops and big-box stores all across this country.

That’s right. The Grinch is robbing Whoville blind—but this time, no amount of Christmas cheer will soften his cold heart.

To make matters worse, COVID is exacerbating what’s already a challenging situation for shippers and the freight brokers who support them.

COVID’s impact on rising cargo theft

According to SensiGuard, cargo theft is up 56% this year over last—and the value of stolen cargo has increased by 80%.

So, how has COVID contributed to this devastating upward trend?

For starters, businesses have been massively disrupted with many workers stressed and strained by the pandemic—making them more vulnerable to scams, like fictitious pickups. What’s more, many workers have lost jobs or had hours slashed. In the face of dire economic circumstances, they may be more likely to engage in criminal activity to put food on the table.

Also consider that non-violent offenders, like cargo thieves, have been released from prison systems to prevent the spread of the virus.

Marry all of this with high-value loads and you have a perfect storm for cargo theft.

What does this mean for you?

To be blunt: If you’re relying on your carrier’s liability policy, you’re vulnerable. That’s because standard exclusions on carrier liability policies include:

  • High value (and highly targeted) commodities, like electronics and reefer shipments
  • Fictitious pickups
  • Employee theft

Even if you were covered for these conditions, MTC policies only pay pennies on the dollar.

That means you take a big hit—a hit that, for smaller businesses, could mean employee layoffs or even closing up shop.

Another thing you might not be aware of: Insurance carriers have 30 days to notify you of a policy lapse. Meaning, while you may be named on a certificate, you could fall within a window for which you have no actual coverage.

So, what can you do to protect your business from cargo theft risk?

Well, lots of things.

For starters, be wary of carriers with new DOT numbers and MC numbers. That should raise an immediate red flag.

Also, trust in the old adage that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a carrier is offering a far cheaper rate than the rest, there may be a reason—and not one that benefits you.

Regardless, be sure you vet any new carrier thoroughly before they take possession of your shipment.

For instance, you’ll want to know if they’ve instituted a multi-layered approach to cargo security:

  • Do they have strict protocols in place regarding where drivers can park trailers?
  • Are they using telematics and making regular check-in calls with their drivers?
  • Do they protect their trailers with high-security ISO 17712- compliant barrier seals and hardened padlocks?
  • Do they protect their trucks with high-security locking devices?

Of course, it’s always far better to prevent cargo theft and get your shipment where it needs to be—and on time. But, even when everyone’s on their A-game, the fact is we’re all still human and, therefore, fallable.

And, criminals will seize upon our mistakes and use them to their own advantage.

That’s why we always suggest that shippers, like you, insist upon all-risk policies from your freight brokers—policies that cover the full value of your shipment and provide protection from cargo theft.

With this type of coverage in place, you’ll avoid having to face difficult decisions about how you’ll cover loss should your cargo be stolen and, instead, quickly regain solid financial footing.

Want to know how we can help? Connect with us and discover how our fully digital cargo insurance solution can deliver the cost-effective, per-load, all-risk coverage you need—not to mention instant claims handling—and all in one click.