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May 28, 2019

Ask Us #5

Our first question comes from Steven J. 

What is the process for making a DOA claim on an insured package? How long does it usually take for the claim to be paid?

The DOA claim process, while unfortunate, is necessary for us to determine what may have caused the loss of the animal(s), and to help us fine tune our shipping standards to ensure the best chance of success for our shippers in the future. In the event of a qualifying late and insured DOA, you have 4 hours to notify us from the time of delivery, and an additional 4 hours to provide us with photographic evidence of the animal belly up, the box, insulation, packing materials, heat and cold packs used, and snake bags or deli cups used. Based on these pictures, we will determine whether the SYR Shipping Standards and Temperature Guidelines were met, and whether the claim qualifies for payment.

The more information you can provide, the better we can determine whether FedEx was at fault, be it due to a delay or a mishap in transit. After we've had a chance to review all the facts, we aim to have an answer within 3 to 5 business days as to whether or not the claim was approved. Once approved, payment is immediate.

It's important to remember that FedEx has zero liability on live shipments. The SYR On Time and Live Arrival Insurance* program is self-funded to protect you in the event of a late or late and DOA package. As long as you follow all the SYR Shipping Standards and Temperature Guidelines, the insurance works, and it pays. If you use your own methods, however, you can expect your own results and we aren't liable for that.

We always encourage our shippers to reach out to us with any concerns or questions they may have to ensure their coverage remains valid in the event of a DOA, especially as it pertains to temperatures (weather) and heat pack use, since improper use of heat packs or handwarmers is the #1 cause of DOAs.

* Currently, Live Arrival Insurance is available for reptiles only. We are working on setting standards for aquatic and invertebrate shipments as well and hope to get that rolling this year.

Our second question comes from Pete M.

What are some extra measures you can take to safely ship sensitive amphibians such as dart frogs?

The best way to ship sensitive amphibians like dart frogs is to individually package each animal in its own portion/deli cup with pinholes for ventilation. You do not want any holes large enough for the frog to get a leg or head stuck. You also don't want jagged/rough holes that could harm the animals.

Moistened (not wet) sphagnum moss is an excellent substrate for the portion cups, as it offers great cushioning and keeps the frogs from drying out during transit.

For amphibian shippers, Phase 22 packs (also known as Cryopaks) are very popular. Because amphibians have a lower temperature tolerance, these packs can be added to a shipment to help keep the internal temperature of the box at 72 degrees F. Placing two or three cryopaks/Phase 22s in a shipment will help keep the internal temperature cool and stable. It is imperative to note that this advice is the complete opposite of what you should do with heat packs. Only one 40+ hour heat pack should ever be used in a box smaller than 30x16x10". Using more than one heat pack in a box smaller than 30x16x10" is almost always fatal, and even using one heat pack in a box smaller than 12x9x6" can be lethal.

Please contact us if you ever have temperature concerns, or would like heat pack advice. 

If YOU have any questions you'd like us to answer, please let us know at!