Freight broker bond insurance, also known as a BMC-84 bond or transportation broker bond, is a mandatory surety bond required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the United States. The bond serves as a financial guarantee to safeguard the interests of the public, including shippers and carriers, when dealing with freight brokers. These brokers act as intermediaries, facilitating the transportation of goods by connecting shippers with authorized motor carriers.
Here are the key points to know about freight broker bonds:
Purpose: The main purpose of a freight broker bond is to provide protection against potential fraud, non-payment, or violations committed by freight brokers. By having the bond, brokers assure that they will fulfill their contractual obligations, including timely payments to carriers for their services.
Bond Amount: According to FMCSA regulations, freight brokers must secure a surety bond in the amount of $75,000. This increase from the previous $10,000 requirement, mandated by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in 2013, aims to offer greater safeguarding for carriers and shippers.
Surety Bond Structure: A freight broker bond operates as a surety bond, involving three parties:
Bond Renewal: Freight broker bonds must be renewed annually to remain compliant with FMCSA regulations. Timely renewal is crucial to ensure continuous operations and avoid disruptions in the freight brokerage business.
Claims Against the Bond: If a freight broker fails to fulfill their obligations, such as non-payment to carriers or other violations, affected parties can file a claim against the bond. This allows the injured party to seek compensation up to the bond’s face value. The surety company will conduct an investigation, and if the claim is deemed valid, they will pay the claimant up to the bond amount. The freight broker is then obligated to reimburse the surety for any claims paid.
Other Requirements: Besides obtaining a freight broker bond, brokers must comply with additional FMCSA regulations, including broker registration, maintaining appropriate insurance coverage, and demonstrating financial responsibility.
Freight broker bonds play a crucial role in the freight brokerage industry by providing financial protection and reassurance to shippers and carriers. They ensure that brokers conduct business in an honest and trustworthy manner. For freight brokers, it is essential to understand and adhere to the bond requirements to remain compliant with FMCSA regulations and operate their businesses legitimately.