The Australian road freight industry supplies essential distribution services from ports through to last kilometre deliveries but accidents can and do happen en route. Gallagher provides practical support in the form of industry specific insurance cover, as well as advocacy when it comes time to claim. Here are some of the factors involved in ensuring the claims process goes as smoothly as possible, from incident to payout.

Supply chain movements involve goods being transferred from trucks and containers to ships, through ports, customs and from warehouse to warehouse, with each stage increasing the potential risks involved. Meanwhile the trucking industry is grappling with the issues of supply chain disruptions and staffing shortages exacerbating the national shortage of appropriately skilled drivers, with both of these problems contributing to an increase in trucking liability claims.

Liability to another party can arise at any time during supply chain movement and each type may be covered by a different insurance product, such as

motor insurance

  • CTP
  • marine cargo or carriers' liability
  • public liability.

Here we share some tips for lodging a successful transport liability claim.

How drivers can facilitate rapid response to trucking incidents

Contacting your insurance broker immediately after an incident has occurred helps enable effective response quickly, mobilising a response team that relays information to key decision makers. Getting boots on the ground as quickly as possible will help maintain the integrity of the evidence in the claims investigation of the incident, as well as confidentiality of information to protect the carrier's reputation.

You may also need your broker's assistance to ascertain which of your business insurance policies covers the exposures involved. This is because different aspects of your liability cover may be involved in the claim so it's essential to have a clear and detailed accident description of what happened and what was damaged.

For example: if a transport operator collects goods from a warehouse and damages them during the loading and unloading process marine cargo or carriers' liability insurance would cover the loss. However, if the operator was loading goods into another company's truck and damaged the vehicle their own public liability insurance would apply.

If a truck carrying freight was involved in an accident which caused damage to the goods and another vehicle, damage to the freight would fall under a carriers' or marine cargo liability policy — but the damage to the other vehicle would be covered under section 2 of their motor policy.

And if during the unloading of the freight to a customer's property they were to cause damage to the customer's property, this damage would be covered by the operator's public liability insurance but the goods they were delivering would be covered under a marine cargo or carriers' liability policy.

It's essential to have a clear and detailed accident description of what happened, and what was damaged. Early reporting of the incident ensures a proactive management of the claim: it doesn't just get the vehicle assessed and repaired faster but also assists with determining liability and deciding on the best course of action.

Case study: rapid response limited transport delays and avoided liability demands

A transport operator's road train carrying fuel blew a steer tyre while travelling on the Flinders Highway. The prime mover ran off the road and into rail lines and the rear trailer rolled over and spilled approximately 11,000 litres of diesel, contaminating about 80 square metres of ground.

The road and rail line into Townsville had to be closed and there was concern over the spill because heavy rain was forecast. Prompt reporting of the incident enabled clean-up experts to work through the night to remediate the spill by lunchtime the following day, and some 30,000 litres of diesel was also decanted and saved.

The undamaged units of the road train continued their journey and those damaged were recovered and towed to Townsville for assessment and repairs. The repairs were authorised the same day the repair quote was completed, about a week after the loss occurred.

Queensland Rail carried out repairs to the damaged railway line which were completed the day after the incident, enabling the network to be reopened. Due to the speed of the spill remediation and ability to reopen the rail line no liability demands were made as a result of the incident.

You can rely on our expertise to handle your transport claim

Every trucking incident requires the right experts to handle the resulting claim. Accessing experienced claims professionals with deep understanding to the transport industry can make the difference between resolution and a drawn out, more expensive outcome.

To find out more about what our transport industry broking specialists can do to enable your business to keep moving in the right direction, get in touch.


Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and benefits consulting services for clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance and/or risk management perspective, and offer broad information about risk mitigation, loss control strategy and potential claim exposures. We have prepared this commentary and other news alerts for general information purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. General insurance descriptions contained herein do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation. The information may not include current governmental or insurance developments, is provided without knowledge of the individual recipient's industry or specific business or coverage circumstances, and in no way reflects or promises to provide insurance coverage outcomes that only insurance carriers' control.

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