Insurance increase would cause construction costs to rise, NSSGA says

July 12, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan intends to rebuild the U.S. economy by investing in highways and bridges and other infrastructure improvements.

However, if a measure in the House highway bill to increase minimum insurance requirement on motor carriers by 167% becomes law, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association says the cost of road construction projects would increase at every level and deliver a major blow to the federal government’s purchasing power.

“We see it as impacting the entire infrastructure community,” said Nile Elam, director of government affairs for Alexandria, Va.-based NSSGA. “Construction costs will go up … At the end of the day, taxpayers will lose out because the projects will cost more.

“You can’t build back better if you can’t build back at all.”

The NSSGA is one of more than 60 organizations in the trucking, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, materials and towing industries that has joined the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to fight a measure that would increase motor carriers’ minimum liability insurance from $750,000 to $2 million.

The diversity of the organizations in the coalition indicates that the 167% increase would reach far beyond the trucking industry.

Last month, the coalition wrote a letter to members of Congress to let them know that the “unnecessary” increase would have negative effects on the entire economy. The letter can be found here.

“Increasing minimum liability coverage would harm all businesses transporting property, not just long-haul trucking operations,” the Truck Insurance Coalition wrote. “As illustrated by the diversity of our coalition, the impact would be felt in many sectors of the economy that have been working to help our nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic … This policy clearly does not belong in legislation that is designed to support economic recovery and encourage growth.”

In the case of NSSGA’s members, Elam said the insurance increase will ultimately drive up the cost of rock and other materials.

“A project that would have cost X will now go up tenfold,” Elam said.

Like OOIDA, the NSSGA said it believes the increase is unnecessary and cites data that indicates the current minimum insurance is adequate for more than 99% of cases.

“We have a lot of the exact same concerns OOIDA does,” Elam said. “It would do nothing to improve safety.

“The folks championing this measure like to say that the requirement hasn’t increased in 30 years. The problem is that it never needed to go up.”

The coalition contends that if the measure becomes law, it would actually decrease safety by putting many of the safest motor carriers out of business.

The Truck Insurance Coalition

  • Agricultural Retailers Association
  • American Beekeeping Federation
  • American Concrete Pavement Association
  • American Concrete Pipe Association
  • American Concrete Pumping Association
  • American Dairy Coalition
  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • American Forest and Paper Association
  • American Pipeline Contractors Association
  • American Sheep Industry Association
  • Associated Equipment Distributors
  • Colorado Motor Carriers Association
  • Concrete Foundations Association
  • Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute
  • Consumer Brands Association
  • Customized Logistics and Delivery Association
  • Distribution Contractors Association
  • Energy Marketers of America
  • Georgia Motor Trucking Association
  • Hawaii Transportation Association
  • Kansas Motor Carriers Association
  • Livestock Marketing Association
  • Maine Motor Transport Association
  • Mid-West Truckers Association
  • Minnesota Trucking Association
  • Missouri Trucking Association
  • Motor Carriers of Montana
  • Motor Transport Association of Connecticut
  • National Aquaculture Association
  • National Asphalt Pavement Association
  • National Association of Small Trucking Cos.
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
  • National Federal of Independent Business
  • National Grain and Feed Association
  • National Precast Concrete Association
  • National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
  • National Stone Sand and Gravel Association
  • National Utility Contractors Association
  • Nevada Trucking Association
  • New Hampshire Motor Transport Association
  • New Jersey Motor Truck Association
  • New Mexico Trucking Association
  • North American Millers’ Association
  • North American Punjabi Trucking Association
  • North American Renderers Association
  • Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
  • Pet Food Institute
  • Port Drivers Association
  • Power and Communication Contractors Association
  • Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
  • Rhode Island Trucking Association Inc.
  • South Carolina Trucking Association
  • South Dakota Trucking Association
  • Southwest Movers Association
  • Tennessee Trucking Association
  • Texas Trucking Association
  • Tilt-Up Concrete Association
  • Towing and Recovery Association of America Inc
  • Truck Renting and Leasing Association
  • United Dairymen of Arizona
  • United Fresh Produce Association
  • United States Cattlemen’s Association
  • Vermont Truck & Bus Association
  • Western States Trucking Association
  • Wyoming Trucking Association LL
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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.