Description of Services

The range of our services covers a large spectrum of the marine cargo claims handling process. We offer these services either individually or as a package of services, depending on the insurers' specific needs or circumstances, and in all cases we abide by our underlying principle of true and professional protection of the insurers' interests. We are here to serve our clients' needs throughout the United States and Canada.

Upon receipt of a notice of claim we obtain all the necessary details about the incident and advise the claimants of the actions we will be taking as well as of their obligations in case of loss or damage. Immediately thereafter we analyze the circumstances and evaluate the potential size and the apparent merits of the claims. We notify all the parties involved in the respective venture and take the appropriate steps with respect to a joint inspection and other necessary actions. Also, we take the necessary steps in order to protect the insurers' interests and to cover all third party liability aspects of the claims. If a claim does not warrant a survey we advise the insurers accordingly and, with their approval, we handle the claim on the basis of documents only. In all cases we immediately notify the concerned insurers about the respective claims by e-mail, by fax, or by telephone, depending on the circumstances.

We give utmost attention to the nature and characteristics of each and every claim, and we ensure that a qualified surveyor is appointed. Our appointed surveyors perform the inspections and ensure that the nature, cause and extent of the losses are properly determined and analyzed in order to afford the insurers the opportunity to properly determine the issue of coverage of the claims under their policies of insurance and the amount of indemnities in the case of covered losses or partially covered losses. In all cases we monitor the surveyors' activities and consult with them during the entire surveying process in order to ensure that all proper actions are taken and to provide a continuous reporting of all important developments to insurers. We provide the insurers with all the necessary elements, as early as possible during the process, so that they can set up appropriate reserves and be in a position to effectively manage the respective situations. If the circumstances require the advice or intervention of experts, we advise the insurers accordingly and provide them with a cost estimate for the potential retention of an expert's services; upon receipt of the insurers' request and authority we retain the respective expert's services.

We collect all the required and proper documents from claimants, and we submit the respective documents along with the survey report and an analysis of the items of the claims to the involved insurers for consideration. We give utmost attention and importance to the claim documentation since it is an essential element in the handling of marine insurance cargo claims and in the ultimate conclusion of the corresponding claim files. This element is extremely important in the subrogation process as well, and its proper treatment at this stage leads to overall appropriate results. While our analysis of the items of marine insurance cargo claims will always provide all the necessary information about the nature and amount of each item of the respective claims, the insurers may also wish to use our claims adjusting services. These services are performed at the specific request of the insurers and consist of the proper adjustment of the claims under the covering policies of insurance and the submission of the complete claim files to the respective insurers for settlement.

In certain instances, the claims do not, totally or partially, fall within the scope of the insurers' coverage. In order to avoid a potential litigation or a potential deterioration of the insurers' relationships with their insureds we can negotiate 'ex-gratia' settlements on the insurers' behalf. These negotiations are carried out only at the insurers' request and with their full and express authority.

Should the insurers wish to use our services as settling agents we will effect the settlement and payment of the respective claims by securing funds from the insurers and effecting the actual operations. In rendering this type of service we make sure that the proper releases and subrogation forms are requested and obtained from the respective claimants.

The aspect of protecting the insurers' rights of subrogation is of utmost importance in the handling of marine insurance cargo claims and we cover it from the inception of each claim by thoroughly instructing the involved claimants as to what and how to do in order to comply with their obligations under the marine insurance policies and, thus, to properly protect the insurers' interests and rights under the respective policies. Once the first party claims have been settled, we offer the insurers the actual subrogation services as a continuation of the marine insurance cargo claims handling process. Also, we offer our subrogation services as separate, distinct services in cases where the insurers had not used our services for the handling of the first party marine insurance cargo claims. In both cases we secure the insurers' full authority to proceed with the subrogation claims on their behalf before initiating any third party liability actions. In order to improve our clients' overall results we strive for the best possible outcomes in the subrogation claims that we handle, and we try to settle most of the cases on an amicable basis. In cases in which litigation appears to be imminent we consult with attorneys and advise the insurers as to the prospects of the claims. Should the retention of the services of an attorney be warranted we will secure the insurers' agreement, and we will proceed accordingly. We keep the insurers fully informed of all developments at all stages of the claims handling process or of the litigation, and we settle the claims upon receipt of the express agreement from the respective insurers. We perform these services on a 'no cure - no pay' basis, at a fee rate of 22% of the gross recovered amounts (higher in cases of retention of attorney's services and litigation, with the rate to be communicated to and agreed upon by the involved insurers prior to the undertaking of such third party liability actions) plus actual expenses.

In general average situations we offer to marine cargo insurers our service of expeditious issuance of the necessary general average guarantees. The issuance of these guarantees takes place only upon receipt of the insurers' specific request and upon proper identification of the subject matter of the coverage, cargo owner, insurance policy or certificate, and values at stake. Upon completion of the general average statement by the involved general average adjuster, should the insurers instruct us we will review the statement and advise the insurers with respect to the general average issues and the determined contribution for the involved cargo.

We consider the marine insurance cargo claims management as a factor with major impact on the insurers' overall results and, in order to make the impact positive, we put a considerable emphasis on loss control. Our appointed surveyors are loss control oriented and, whenever necessary, they make recommendations with respect to loss prevention or loss reduction issues in their reports. On the basis of our surveyors' recommendations we advise our clients on the necessity, economic feasibility, and potential effectiveness of loss control activities in connection with the particular types of shipments. Also, our appointed surveyors perform actual loss control services upon receipt of instructions from insurers. These services consist of studies, consultations, pre-shipment and discharge condition surveys on cargo and cargo packaging / stowage, warehouse condition surveys, as well as recommendations concerning the routing and overall logistics of shipments. Should the proper fulfillment of a certain loss control related service require the intervention of an expert in a certain specialty we will secure the insurers' agreement and we will retain the necessary expert's services. The purpose of these services is to provide the insurers with all the necessary elements for a proper evaluation of new risks to be underwritten, for the analysis of existing risks and of the adequacy of the pricing in relation to the covering policies, as well as for a proper assessment of claims under current policies.

We provide consulting services upon receipt of the insurers' request for information on a specific subject of interest to them or for an opinion on a specific issue. We research the respective subject or analyze and comment on the respective issue, and we report to our clients in a timely manner.

The protection of marine insurers' interests is the most intangible and, at the same time, the most important service, which we provide to all our clients through the performance of our individual or packaged services.

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