Am I liable if goods are damaged from a catastrophic loss while in my care, custody or control?
Just as carriers are
not liable for “Acts of God,” you should not be held liable even if cargo
is damaged because of a catastrophic loss while traveling under your bill of
lading or air waybill. Especially if you are storing goods in your own
warehouse facility, you do need to act prudently in the event of an
incoming storm to protect the cargo. This should be a key risk
management component of your business continuity planning.
Of course, the safety
of you and your employees is most
important, and your various transportation documents, bills of lading,
and warehouse receipts should contain strong Force Majeure clauses that
specify you are not liable for acts beyond your control. Maintaining the
proper Professional Liability coverage will also ensure you are provided
with legal defense if you are sued for any damage to cargo that is
caused during a catastrophic loss. Warehouse Legal Liability policies
can also be enhanced with Property of Others coverage that can be
extended to include hurricane, flood, and earthquake for additional
premium and special terms.