Self-Service vs. Full-Service Freight Claims: Which Is Right for You?
When freight claims occur, they can kick-start a protracted claims management process. Shippers must submit claims correctly and in a timely fashion, but they also need to ensure they’re facilitating the claim from an operational standpoint. Without a strong grip on the process, and a keen attention to detail, even a simple freight claim can wreak havoc on everything from inventory to bookkeeping.
Is it better to process freight claims in-house, or enlist the help of a claims processing partner?
The disruptive nature of freight claims
Freight problems are inevitable. When they do arise, the claims process should be swift, accurate, and thorough. It’s important to remember you’re dealing with more than lost or damaged product. You also have to go through the complete claims process for reimbursement, and reconcile your books to account for the financial loss and payment credit. It can take a long time to balance out unless you have a well-defined approach for tackling freight claims.
The self-service approach to freight claims
Many shippers opt to address freight claims internally because it gives them more control over the process. This can be a beneficial approach if you have the necessary data and documentation readily available. At a minimum, this data includes:
Shipment information (e.g., freight bill, vehicle numbers, delivery date, etc.).
Details of the shipment and any goods involved (e.g., the bill of lading).
Specification and documentation of loss and/or the nature of any damage.
Total amount of the claim and a clear demand for payment.
Without the necessary data, experience with claims paperwork, and an ability to file quickly, shippers will struggle to get reimbursement. But with the proper framework, many shippers will appreciate remaining in control of their claims and reimbursement process.
The perks of full-service claims management
The idea of outsourcing claims management may not immediately appeal to shippers, but a simple cost-benefit analysis reveals surprising benefits. For one, paying for expert, efficient, and accurate freight claims processing reduces the cost of carrying these problems on company books.
Too many companies end up carrying dead inventory or incurring inventory write-downs that affect their broader accounting. Other potential consequences include denied claims and partial reimbursements. In the worst-case scenario, a shipper may miss a filing date, or even forget to file a claim, and be forced to accept the entire financial loss. The cost of full-service claims management is minor in comparison — and a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Shippers save the time and labor they would otherwise spend collecting and compiling claim data, and they’re free to focus on operations.
Freight claims require swift and accurate resolution
Freight claims need a dedicated approach rooted in accuracy and timeliness. The longer they remain unresolved or unreconciled, the more problems they tend to cause. Those shippers with the means to handle freight claims in-house must develop core processes for documenting and submitting claims. But for most, a full-service approach makes the most sense — from both financial and operational standpoints.
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