For many people, maybe even your customers, their medical devices are invaluable. This is what keeps them alive or gives them the quality of life they deserve. These medical devices being there for them at the right time is an equally important aspect of their health and wellbeing.
Your customers rely on their provider and shipping company to get their devices to them on time. However, there are many potential risks within the medical logistics process that can spell trouble for those depending on it. Make sure you are aware of such risks and the steps you can take to minimize them.
Medical Shipment Risks
Your company needs to make medical device shipments to customers across the country, perhaps even across the world. Unfortunately, however careful you are, every shipment will face a number of risks.
These risks are only magnified for complex supply chains, international shipments, medical devices with a high market value, and products that are easily damaged.
Packaging and Handling
If you simply package and ship your medical devices, they are out of your control as soon as they leave the pickup point. A poorly-handled shipment may lead to damaged packaging, which could put the product at risk. Unless you have a representative onsite at every step to check that your package is handled correctly, it is difficult to ensure that nothing will ever go wrong.
This is especially problematic for unique medical shipments, such as large-molecule biological treatments. These drugs are less stable than small-molecule drugs, meaning that they need more care in handling. Such shipments are increasing, whereas the solutions to handle them are not keeping up with demand.
There is always the danger that an unexpected event on the road could ruin your temperature controlled shipping. For instance, the transportation could break down or the delivery may need to stay at a warehouse for longer than planned. All these events may lead to incorrect temperatures. Plus, if you are shipping outside North America or Europe, you may face long custom processes, which lengthens the transit process further.
If this means that if a product is damaged or fails to meet regulations, it may need to be destroyed. Even if a medical device is still usable, if its quality is reduced, this has an impact for both the retailer and customer.
During transportation, medical products face more risks than just incorrect temperature. Some items need to avoid humidity and light. Others need to be protected from movement during transportation. Even if you confirm the suitability of the initial mode of transportation, you may have less control later. This is especially the case for long journeys into different countries as well as other situations where the shipment needs to change from one means of transportation to another.
Controlled substances and other valuable shipments always face security risks. It is important to plan safe routes to minimize the risk of theft, delays, and diversions. However, it is impossible to ascertain that medical shipments will never encounter breaches in security.
A large quantity of counterfeit drugs on the market in some regions (particularly in low- to middle-income countries) puts shipments at risk of regular overhauls. This is the case for shipments containing medications, vaccines, an even medical testing kits. You’ll face greater problems if your medical logistics supply chain lacks visibility, such as if you are unable to trace the shipment at every step leading back to its origin, and if products feature no anti-counterfeit protections.
If you want to enter a new market (for instance, start selling in another country), you’ll need to meet new compliance regulations. A simple mistake can mean that the shipment is held up in customs or somewhere else before it reaches its final destination. This may lead to further delays, ruining temperature controls and your relationship with new clients.
Benefits of a Third-Party Insurer
A lost, stolen, or ruined shipment can have a major impact on your returns. The good news is that you can mitigate risks by purchasing shipping insurance for all your medical shipments.
You have two main options: you can receive insurance through a shipping company or you can purchase through a third-party insurer. There are many additional benefits to the second choice.
Much Lower Rates
Opting for shipping insurance through a third party rather than through your carrier will result in much lower rates. The rates are even lower still when you are insuring low-value packages, as third-party insurers tend to have no minimums.
If you’re sending international shipments, your insurance needs to cover more than one country. Many carriers do offer international coverage, but they tend to cover only select countries. When you choose a third-party insurer, you can receive coverage in all the countries where you operate.
When you realize that you need to file a claim, you have a window in which to do so. Filing with paper slows the process down, shortening your window. Plus, it’s inconvenient. You likely try to minimize the number of paper transactions your business makes. Unfortunately, it’s not always an option when you receive insurance through your carrier. Some carriers may even make the process more difficult by demanding to see in-person evidence to process a claim.
In contrast, when you choose a third party, paperless claims are usually the standard. You’ll only need to submit photographic proof along with your paperwork. The electronic record of your claim will help with organization.
Fast Resolution Time
Once you’ve submitted a claim, you’ll receive payment much sooner if you’re using a third-party insurer. For example, Cabrella Shipping Insurance only takes 30 days to resolve claims under $20,000. With a carrier, it is often twice as long — some even take as long as three to four months.
Higher Coverage Limits
Finally, third-party insurers cover much higher amounts than carriers. This may be a necessity if you are shipping an expensive medical device, a large quantity of medication, or otherwise valuable products. For instance, Cabrella offers a coverage limit of $150,000.
Insure Your Medical Shipments
By now, it should be obvious that you do need insurance for your medical device shipments. It should also be clear that your best option is a third-party insurer — for all the additional benefits you’ll receive. A top option is an insurer like Cabrella, which offers coverage limits that exceed the needs of most suppliers, provides tracking to improve visibility, and has integration with almost every carrier. Apply for insurance today for confidence and security in all your medical shipments.