OOIDA-led coalition aims to prevent any minimum insurance hikes in Senate

July 27, 2020

Mark Schremmer

|

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

OOIDA and groups including the American Dairy Coalition, Consumer Brands Association, Livestock Marketing Association, National Grain and Feed Association, and numerous state trucking associations, sent the letter on Monday, July 27, to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

“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.

“Raising insurance rates for countless businesses engaged in trucking in the midst of an economic downturn would undoubtedly lead to the loss of even more American jobs. This policy does not belong in legislation that is designed to support economic recovery and encourage growth.”

Highway bill amendment

An amendment to increase the minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers from $750,000 to $2 million was included in the House version of the highway bill. While that bill appears to have no chance of moving forward in the Senate, the OOIDA-led coalition wants to prevent any similar provisions from being including in upcoming bills. The groups say the increase would force many small motor carriers out of business.

The coalition also contends that increasing the minimum insurance requirement would do nothing to improve safety and that research shows that there is no need for the increase. Citing a 2014 report from the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, the coalition said that the “vast majority of commercial motor vehicle-caused crashes have relatively small cost consequences, and the costs are easily covered with the limits of mandatory liability insurance.” Specifically, the report said the $750,000 minimum covered damages in all but 0.06% of crashes.

“Rejecting calls for increases in insurance coverage will help protect American jobs and businesses, including countless small businesses, from an unnecessary and excessive policy designed to further line the pockets of trial lawyers at the expense of truckers, farmers and manufacturers,” the coalition wrote.

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.