For those business entities that transport abnormal loads on public roads – these include certain vehicles that exceed the limitations in terms of the dimensions and/or mass as prescribed in the Regulations of the National Road Traffic Act – having the right business insurance plays a very important role.
The definition of an abnormal load:
- In situations where these vehicles are not able to be dismantled without a disparate struggle, outlay or jeopardy of damage and transferred into units that can travel or be transported legally; this is then classified as an abnormal vehicle or load.
- In instances when the movement of an abnormal load is considered to be in the economic and or social interest of the country, a special permit has to be issued to permit it to operate on public roads; usually for a limited period of time.
- These permits are typically issued by the Department of Roads and Transport.
- In some instances permits and input has to be obtained from the local and metropolitan authorities.
- Permits are issued with abnormal warning signage together with amber flashing lights, marker lamps, and reflectors together with escort vehicles.
It is therefore obvious than when insuring an abnormal load, a certain number of potential liabilities need to be taken into consideration:
- This is important otherwise losses can occur.
- Some of the goods could be damaged during transportation.
- Insurance is important to ensure that damage to third–party property is covered.
- Insurance in the event of death or injury of third parties has to be insured against.
- Other factors that need to be considered include environmental damage, professional liability of independent, professional engineers involved in route clearance in addition to conveyance specification and directing.
The configuration of accurate business insurance cover will all depend on the contractual and constitutional provisions that relate and which are drawn up between the transporter, consignor and consignee.
There are potential risk exposures that need to be covered and which include a wide range of insurance categories – these are:
Usually the categories listed above are primarily specialised insurance products and will need to be insured with specific insurers that have the expertise and experience to provide the right solutions.
Risk is alleviated by ensuring that the right mode of transport is used for the transportation of abnormal loads and that these loads are correctly maintained; furthermore, the drivers require the right skills necessary as well as the correct driver’s licenses.
In these instances the role of qualified insurance brokers and specialist insurance service providers cannot be stressed enough and has to be emphasised; in other words, the correct insurance to cover liabilities and risk, whatever the cargo, is hugely important.