Significant liability insurance hike floated again in Congress


Congress again eyes liability insurance minimum increase

A bill that would tie truck owners’ minimum liability insurance requirements to medical care inflation has been reintroduced in the U.S. House.

Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Illinois) first introduced the legislation, dubbed the “Improving National Safety by Updating the Required Amount of Insurance Needed by Commercial Motor Vehicles per Event (INSURANCE) Act” in 2019, but it never advanced past the House Transportation Committee.

While the text of the reintroduced bill is not yet available, the original bill called for motor carriers’ minimum insurance levels to be raised from $750,000, based on medical-cost inflation.

According to the language of the 2019 bill, the amount of $750,000, which was set as the insurance minimum in 1980, would have had the same buying power as $4.9 million in 2019, based on medical-cost inflation.

The bill would also require the Department of Transportation to adjust the liability minimum every five years.

The American Trucking Associations said it believes any changes to the liability minimum should be made following stakeholder input and opposes arbitrary increases.

“ATA firmly believes that any changes to minimum insurance levels should be stakeholder driven and should ultimately reflect stakeholder input," said Sean McNally, ATA VP of Public Affairs. "ATA will advocate that any changes be undertaken through a negotiated rulemaking so that the perspectives of all stakeholders are taken into account, and so that any changes are genuinely responsive to highway safety needs. ATA opposes arbitrary increases to minimum insurance levels calculated to pad the pockets of the trial lawyers.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and other trucking groups have long been opposed to increasing the insurance minimum for motor carriers. More than 60 trucking-related organizations penned a letter in February to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to discourage any attempts to increase the minimum.

“Increasing the liability requirement will not make highways safer, is wholly unnecessary and would have a severe negative impact on small-business truckers, farmers and manufacturers,” OOIDA said in a statement Friday morning.

The Truck Safety Coalition and trial lawyer group American Association for Justice are among groups that have voiced support for Garcia’s INSURANCE Act.

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Liability Insurance , Trucking



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