What follows is a composite version of a typical report from a claims surveyor or loss adjuster

This report concerns the loss of a consignment of 8,500 widgets by theft from a transit warehouse

The first carrier was instructed to carry the goods to Coastline Seaport and deliver them to the warehouse of the freight forwarder charged with their loading aboard the overseas vessel. This first carrier delivered them instead to another freight forwarder in Inland Town, some 30 miles from Coastline Seaport. When challenged by us about this mistake he preferred not to offer an explanation. The goods were signed for by a loader, who did not report the receipt of the goods to his manager, so no-one realised that they had accepted delivery of goods that were not intended for them. The goods were simply placed on a shelf but none of the staff there enquired about them, despite it being part of their daily routine to check the goods received inwards and then despatched forward. The goods were received on a Friday afternoon and stolen by a person or persons unknown the following afternoon, who gained entry by using an angle grinder to cut a hole in a side exit door. Being a Saturday afternoon, the warehouse was closed for the weekend

This warehouse was one of 26 such similar units on an industrial estate of Inland Town, which has a poor record for thefts from warehouses and vehicles left unattended

Local police believe the theft was the work of an opportunist thief and that the widgets would be disposed of by sale through the pubs and clubs of the town. They have thus closed their file and noted that further investigation is unlikely to discover either the widgets or the persons responsible for the theft.”

Whether you are in underwriting or claims, the challenge is for you to decide whether this is a genuine or a dubious loss, which requires a more thorough investigation. Use both logic and an arithmetical model to arrive at a decision

The answer will be in the next edition of Insurance Panorama but, meantime, you can send me your ideas by e mail: