Coalition of lawmakers fight insurance increase

October 2020

Mark Schremmer

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A contingent of U.S. Senators are standing up against a push to significantly increase the minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers.

In September, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and six of his colleagues sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in response to a provision added to House Democrats’ version of a highway bill that would increase the liability insurance requirement from $750,000 to $2 million per truck.

“We ask that you refrain from including any increase in the existing minimum liability coverage for motor carriers,” the letter stated. “An increase in insurance requirements is both unnecessary and impractical with the result having little to do with improving highway safety. Furthermore, the addition of these requirements would negatively impact a wide range of industries that are crucial to our states and the nation.”

Lawmakers adding their signatures to Daines’ letter include Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; Martha McSally, R-Ariz.; David Perdue, R-Ga.; and Deb Fischer, R-Neb.

OOIDA commends Daines for encouraging his colleagues to sign the letter.

“The only thing this would do is destroy small trucking businesses,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh said. “Trial lawyers are simply trying to increase their payouts at the expense of those deemed essential, including truckers, farmers and manufacturers.”

The letter cites research that shows the current insurance requirements adequately cover 99.4% of crashes.

In addition, Daines reiterated that putting this burden on essential workers during a pandemic is a terrible idea.

“Increasing insurance rates on our hard working folks who transport goods across our nation would destroy jobs in our transportation industry,” Daines said. “During these challenging times, we must promote economic recovery and growth for our truckers, farmers and manufacturers, not burden them by increasing insurance rates further.”

OOIDA isn’t the only organization against the increase.

A coalition of 62 organizations, including OOIDA, sent a letter to the leaders of a Senate Committee in July to discourage them from including any increases to motor carriers’ minimum insurance requirement in the next surface transportation reauthorization bill.

“Increasing minimum liability coverage would affect all businesses transporting property, not just long-haul trucking operations,” the OOIDA-led coalition letter stated. “As illustrated by the diversity of our coalition, the impact would be felt in many sectors of the economy that are currently working to help our nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, including trucking, agriculture and the materials industries.” LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.