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FMCSA drops plans to study raising insurance minimums

Excerpt from Transport Topics article.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has abandoned its plans to consider an increase in minimum bodily injury and property damage insurance levels for motor carriers, freight forwarders and brokers.

In an announcement on June 2, the agency said that after reviewing comments on its November 2014 advance notice of proposed rule to consider increasing minimum financial responsibility levels it presently has “insufficient data or information to support moving forward” with the ANPRM.

The ANPRM did not specify insurance levels but asked carriers and brokers to answer dozens of detailed questions — such as what they currently pay in premiums; whether rates are determined by driver, credit or safety history; and whether carriers get discounts for a certain number of vehicles in a fleet.

It also said it intended to explore what percentage of fleets, based on size and the type of operation of the carrier already have liability coverage that exceed the minimum financial responsibility requirement and by how much.

Currently, for most carriers the minimum coverage requirement is $750,000. Those specializing in hazardous materials must have either $1 million or $5 million depending on what they haul.

Those minimum levels, however, have been in place since 1985 and FMCSA said it intended to write a new insurance rule because “inflation has greatly increased medical claims costs and related expenses.”

In the ANPRM the agency cited studies, among them one from Volpe Transportation Systems Center in 2013 that said severe crashes today typically result in more than $1 million in damages.

FMCSA said it received 2,181 public comments in response to the ANPRM.

See the full story from Transport Topics.