Latest version of insurance law foresees 556% increase
Representative Chuy Garcia’s Insurance Act, HR2687, will again attempt to increase the minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers to $ 4.923 million.
While the text of HR2687 had still not been published on Congress.govGarcia’s office, D-Ill., confirmed with Land Line on Monday, May 17, that the bill is “identical” to HR3781, which Garcia presented to the House during the previous session of Congress.
The Insurance Act would require trucking companies to increase their minimum liability insurance from $ 750,000 to $ 4,923,153.29, an increase of 556.42%. The minimum insurance amount would then be adjusted every five years to take inflation into account.
“Small business truckers are under attack,” said Collin Long, director of government affairs for OOIDA. Rep. Garcia and everyone who supports this bill has made it clear that they don’t care how hard you’ve worked to keep the country safe and healthy during COVID. They don’t care. that more than 99% of the damage in crashes involving CMV be covered by today’s minimum. They don’t care about improving road safety or they wouldn’t promote policies that will push the drivers harder. safe and most experienced to leave the industry.
“All they care about is helping the litigators pocket a little more money when they sue truckers, towers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and anyone else who carries products.” by truck.”
Garcia introduced the Insurance Law in July 2019 and reintroduced the measure for the 117e Congress in April.
According to supporters of the measure, the insurance law is necessary because the minimum insurance requirement has not been increased since 1980.
“Families shouldn’t be burdened with long-term financial debt after suffering a devastating injury or the loss of a loved one,” Garcia said in a statement. Press release. “Yet thousands of families are suffering in silence, weighed down by insurmountable medical costs after suffering catastrophic accidents with trucks.”
OOIDA, however, says the increase is not necessary because most motor carriers already have $ 1 million in insurance and research from the Volpe National Transportation Center found that the current minimum level of insurance covered adequately damage in about 0.6% of cases.
That same Volpe report from 2014 found that the average truck insurance claim was $ 18,000.
HR3781 never took much steam after Garcia introduced it in 2019. The partisan bill only received six Democratic co-sponsors. The current bill, HR2687, received eight Democratic co-sponsors when it was introduced on April 20, but hasn’t gained ground since.
Based on this recent history, it looks like it would be a tough climb for the stand-alone bill to pass both the House and the Senate.
However, this does not mean that a version of the Insurance Act still cannot find its place in the next road bill. In 2020, Garcia added an amendment to HR2 that would have raised the minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers to $ 2 million – an increase of 166.6%.
HR2, which included the amendment to increase truckers’ insurance to $ 2 million, passed the House but was deemed dead on arrival once it reached the Senate.
OOIDA has worked to prevent any insurance increases in the upcoming highway bill, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks. About 60 organizations joined OOIDA in a coalition to end efforts to increase the minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers. In addition to trucking, the coalition is represented by organizations from the agriculture, manufacturing, materials and towing sectors.
In May, the coalition sent letters to the Blue Dog Coalition and the US House of Representatives Problem Solvers Caucus in hopes of securing enough votes to block such a move.
“An increase in insurance requirements is completely unnecessary, would do nothing to improve road safety and would have a serious negative impact on our members by significantly increasing their operating costs,” the coalition wrote.
In addition to OOIDA’s coalition efforts, the cause has found a powerful ally in the construction industry.
The Transportation Construction Coalition, which includes 33 national associations and construction unions representing hundreds of thousands of people, opposed the increase in an April letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Garcia takes the opposite stance on rail insurance
Earlier this year, Garcia and several other Illinois lawmakers wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to inform him of the difficulties for commuter train operators to purchase liability insurance.
Specifically, lawmakers have drawn attention to the FAST Act’s adjustment to the passenger rail liability cap for public and private passenger rail operators from $ 294 million to nearly $ 323 million.
“While commuter railways purchase liability insurance to cover unlikely catastrophic incidents, the law unwittingly forces operators to navigate declining coverage options and the skyrocketing premiums associated with them,” we read in the letter of the Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill .; and Mike Braun, R-Ind.; and representatives Bradley Schneider, D-Ill .; Marie Newman, D-Ill .; and Garcia. “This lack of opportunities and competition represents a broken system and often forces operators to partner with a decreasing number of international insurers at inflated costs.”
In April, the OOIDA-led coalition sent a letter to those same lawmakers urging them not to put small trucking companies in the same unenviable position.
“Like commuter railways, motor carriers are required to carry liability insurance to cover unlikely catastrophic incidents,” the coalition wrote. “Motor carriers are currently facing many of the same challenges you raised in your letter as they navigate the commercial auto liability insurance market. Raising their minimum insurance requirements would only exacerbate these problems. ” LL