A jumbo hopper barge became wedged against a railway bridge in Burlington, Iowa along the Mississippi River after five barges broke loose and slammed into two bridges; it took 63 hours to free it after the barge accident.
Line boats and towboats were used to free the barge and help push it up the river. Allegedly, the barges broke free from a staging area upstream. The owners of the barges were unknown, and the barges were loaded with grain or coal. Although bridges are designed to absorb an impact, there was concern about the force of the impact following the Missouri barge accident.
In situations such as that above, insurance becomes very important in order to recover for loss where there isn't a specified cause or claim per se. Under the Corpus Juris Secundum, the following are Marine Insurance policy requirements in terms of giving notice and proof of loss to the insurer in order to be able to recover.
The giving of notice and preliminary proofs of loss is a condition precedent to a recovery under the usual form of marine policy. Notice of loss must be given as mandated by the insurance policy. Generally, notice of loss given by the insured to an insurance broker does not constitute notice to the insurance company without exceptional circumstances.
The requirements of giving immediate written notice and filing written proofs of loss and interest must be construed in accord with their purpose and with the reasonable expectations of the parties, and the insured is allowed a reasonable period in which to fulfill such requirements. Timely notice is given under the immediate notice requirement where the insured's broker leaves a recorded telephone message for the insurance company on the day of the occurrence, which may result in a claim, and later writes to the company to confirm the information.