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10/30/2014 12:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

MCSAC Advises on Insurance, Mexican Trucks, CSA Programs


Truck at Mexico border by John Sommers II for TT
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An advisory committee to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration offered the agency guidelines on how to revise insurance minimums, submitted a final report on the recently concluded Mexican trucks pilot program and heard an update on new rules that FMCSA will propose for its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee made the recommendations here on Oct. 28.

“You get to appreciate how deliberative you have to be and how difficult it is to achieve changes,” MCSAC Chairman Stephen Owings said of the process of reviewing and debating reports line-by-line. He made the comments after leading the final meeting of his two-year term.

•FMCSA is at the beginning of its rewrite of mandatory insurance levels for the trucking and bus companies it regulates. Larry Minor, the agency’s associate administrator for policy, said he has sent the Office of Management and Budget an advanced notice that the agency will work on the matter, but there were no suggested levels for replacement of the current figures that range from $750,000 for general cargo to up to $5 million for the most dangerous hazardous materials.

There was consensus that trucking and bus companies should be considered separately. Representatives of both industries said insurance underwriters assess their levels of risk differently, so each industry should have different categories and minimums.

Committee members looked at how to gauge inflation. The current levels were set in 1985 based on 1980 prices. For general inflation, the Consumer Price Index is available, and there is also information on medical inflation.

However, Donald Osterberg, senior vice president for safety, security and driver training for trucking company Schneider, advised looking at the value of claim settlements over time.

Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, questioned the whole process saying that more than 99% of current settlements come in under the current insurance floors, so there is no need for change. He also said a large increase in the minimums could drive owner-operators and small fleets out of business as they would struggle to pay new, higher premiums.

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By Jonathan S. Reiskin
Associate News Editor


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