ITIC's Claims Director, Andrew Jamieson, discusses:
The Dangers of Misaddressed Messages
Importance of the Human Factor
As a professional negligence insurer, human errors is really at the core of what ITIC covers. Our members draft important messages on a daily basis. They often carefully proofread these, but unfortunately, human nature is such that errors will, of course, creep through.
Common Proofreading Errors
One of the most common proofreading errors we see is not actually to do with the contents of the message. Often we find that claims arise because someone has failed to notice who the message is addressed to, or indeed who it’s from.
Examples of Proofreading Errors
ITIC has dealt with a number of problems caused by messages being sent to the wrong email address or sometimes to a mailing list covering much of the market. One such case involved an internal memo regarding the details of a very sensitive COA.
Unfortunately, the broker concerned sent the message not back to his client, but to a mailing list covering the entire market. A lot of sensitive information was leaked and as you’ll appreciate, the principal’s view of his broker was somewhat diminished after that.
ITIC has also handled a claim involving a charterer who invited tenders for a long-term charter. The broker unfortunately sent his owner’s bid, not to the charterer, but to a mailing list covering the entire market.
As you’ll appreciate, having sent his principal’s bid to the entire market, his principal was undercut in the subsequent bids. His principal may or may not have got the business. We’ll never know. But again, you’ll appreciate how his view of his broker was somewhat altered by this.
Other Types of Misaddressed Messages
It’s not only carefully checking who you’re about to send the message to. Another set of claims comes because members fail to notice who sent them the message.
A recent case involved the operation staff of a tanker broker. It was the weekend and the individual concerned was off duty. She saw an important operational message come in, but she read it on her phone and thinking that it was also copied to the general operations email, did nothing with it. Sadly, had she checked, she would have realized that the principal had only sent the message to her and not to the office generally.
The message was not acted upon until after the weekend and as a result, a substantial delay was caused to the vessel. Obviously, that resulted in the claim against the broker for failing to pass on the message in due time. The claim was about $100,000, so you can see how a relatively small mistake can lead to a fairly substantial claim.
The whole area of who a message comes from has really been brought into focus by the email frauds we have seen in recent times.